The death has been confirmed of Kim Simmonds, the ever-present frontman since 1965 of long-running British blues stalwarts Savoy Brown. He died on Monday evening (13) at the age of 75. Simmonds had announced via the Savoy Brown website in August that he had been receiving chemotherapy for stage four colon cancer, and that all of the band’s scheduled live performances had been cancelled.
Quarto Valley Records wrote in a post: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news of the passing of legendary blues guitarist & a member of our Quarto Valley Family, Kim Simmonds of SavoyBrown. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Simmonds family, his bandmates, colleagues & fans. We love you Kim.”
The post was accompanied by a graphic containing the further statement: “Please note that one of Kim’s last requests was to thank the fans of Savoy Brown. Your support was and shall always be immensely appreciated.”
Blues-rock guitar hero Joe Bonamassa posted: “Kim Simmonds was one of kindest souls I’d had ever met in this business of music. Always smiling and jovial. He along with Lonesome Dave made some beautiful records with Savoy Brown. Rest in Peace Kim. You will be missed.” George Thorogood and the Destroyers wrote: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Kim Simmonds, our sincere condolences to his friends and family.”
Fellow road warriors Foghat noted: “We are very sad to let you know that our good friend, brother and Rogers [drummer Roger Earl] former band mate Kim Simmonds has passed away. We send our love to his wife Debbie and his daughter and all of Kim’s wonderful fans and friends. We will miss you Kim. Rest now.”
As detailed in our story about the history of the blues stalwarts, Simmonds had always been a proud custodian of the Savoy Brown name through their myriad personnel changes, which saw some 60 musicians pass through their ranks. He was born in Newbridge, Caerphilly, in Wales, on December 5, 1947 and became an early aficionado and champion of the blues, forming the Savoy Brown Blues Band in the autumn of 1965. They debuted on Decca in 1967 with Shake Down, produced by fellow British blues torchbearer Mike Vernon.
The band never won the full commercial recognition that their standing deserved in their native UK, but became a powerful and enduring attraction on the live circuit in the US, and as recording artists. They placed 11 albums in the top 200 there between 1969 and 1981, including the Top 40 entries Looking In (1970, their one UK chart entry) and 1972’s Hellbound Train.
The band continued to record and perform extensively, and had a No.1 on the Billboard blues chart in 2017 with Witchy Feelin’. Simmonds also made five albums as a solo artist, and his most recent release with Savoy Brown was 2020’s Taking The Blues Back Home.