Skyhooks in the 1970s with (from left) Bob ‘Bongo’ Starkie, Red Symons, Shirley Strachan, Greg Macainsh and Freddy Strauks.
Skyhooks in the 1970s with (from left) Bob ‘Bongo’ Starkie, Red Symons, Shirley Strachan, Greg Macainsh and Freddy Strauks.

Aussie rock band founder dies in tragic accident

A founding member of hit Australian 1970s glam rock band Skyhooks has died in what his brother is calling a 'stupid' accident.

Peter Starkie, the brother of guitarist and fellow former Skyhooks member Bob Starkie, died aged 72 after falling off a ladder on Sunday.

Bob posted a touching tribute to his brother on the Skyhooks' Facebook page and how he "tragically died in one of those stupid ladder accidents".

Skyhooks was one of Australia's biggest bands across the 70s and 80s, with a string of top 10 hits including Horror Movie, Ego is Not A Dirty Word, All My Friends Are Getting Married and Women In Uniform.

Peter Starkie, bottom right, at a reunion of the original band posted on the Skyhooks’ Facebook page.
Peter Starkie, bottom right, at a reunion of the original band posted on the Skyhooks’ Facebook page.

 

In 1990 they had their last major hit when Jukebox In Siberia topped the singles chart.

They also had four top 10 albums including Living In The Seventies and Ego Is Not A Dirty Word which both reached number one.

They have rarely performed as group since their lead singer Graeme 'Shirley' Strachan died in a helicopter accident at Noosa in 2001.

Peter Starkie was a founding member of band in 1973 along with guitarist and songwriter Greg Macainsh and drummer Freddie Strauks.

The best known Skyhooks member was Red Symons who wore garish outfits and make-up. He went on to become a breakfast radio announcer in Melbourne and was a permanent member on Red Faces on Hey Hey It's Saturday.

Australian band Skyhooks in early 1975. Red Symons in one of his garish outfits (right). Picture: Supplied by Bob Starkie
Australian band Skyhooks in early 1975. Red Symons in one of his garish outfits (right). Picture: Supplied by Bob Starkie



"Very sad to deliver the news that my brother Peter has tragically died in one of those stupid ladder accidents," Bob wrote.

"Peter George Starkie was born in Sydney in 1948, he was only 72 when he took the dive and had plenty of life ahead of him.

"When Greg Macainsh was formulating his idea for Skyhooks, it was Dave Flett who recommended Peter as guitarist. So along with Peter Inglis, Steve Hill, Freddie Strauks and Greg Thus was born The Skyhooks first line-up."

Bob said that besides his brother being a fabulous guitarist, he was someone "he looked up to".

He said Peter was survived by three daughters, a step daughter and has lived inseparably for more than 20 years with his partner Dianna.

"Quite honestly this is just a f***ing tragedy especially for Dianna and the girls. (and in lockdown!)," Bob wrote.

"So one and all, as my mother would say 'count your Blessings'."

Originally published as Aussie rock band founder's 'stupid' death


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