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Original Skyhooks Guitarist, Peter Starkie, Dead at 72

Co-founding the group in 1973, Peter Starkie served as the inaugural Skyhooks guitarist, before being replaced by his brother.

Image of the original Skyhooks lineup

The Steve Hill-era lineup of Skyhooks, including guitarist Peter Starkie, front.


Founding Skyhooks guitarist Peter Starkie has passed away over the weekend at age 72, his former bandmates have confirmed.

In a post made to Facebook earlier this afternoon, the official Skyhooks account broke the news of Starkie’s death, citing an “tragic accident” that occurred over the weekend as the cause of his passing.

“It’s with sadness that we have to post that one of the original Skyhooks- Peter Starkie has passed away (age 72),” the post reads. “A tragic accident on Sunday led to his death. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Bob and family during this sad time.”

Formerly a member of The King Bees with Joe Camilleri, and later Lipp Arthur and the Double Decker Brothers, Starkie helped to co-found Skyhooks back in 1973, serving as guitarist alongside vocalist Steve Hill, guitarist Peter Ingliss, and mainstays Greg Macainsh on bass, and Freddie Strauks on drums.

Ultimately, this formative lineup of Skyhooks didn’t last long, with Starkie’s six-month tenure within the group ending in August of 1973 when he was replaced by his younger brother, Bob “Bongo” Starkie, who would remain with the group throughout their existence.

Recalling the band’s early years in 2015, Bongo Starkie remembered attending the final show his brother played with the band. “I took my brother to his last Hooks gig at a private school in Donvale and I said ‘gee, I really dig this band’,” he explained. “Loved the riffs; when I first heard [the song] ‘Carlton’, I thought ‘wow’.”

Guitarist Red Symons also joined the lineup around the time of Peter Starkie’s departure, with vocalist Graeme “Shirley” Strachan joining in 1974, cementing the band’s most iconic lineup, and going on to release their groundbreaking debut, Living in The 70’s, in October of that year.

Following his departure from Skyhooks, Starkie again joined forces with Joe Camilleri, performing with Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons during their first year, but left the group before releasing any material.

Skyhooks ultimately disbanded in 1980, though a handful of reunion performances took place across the next 14 years. Strachan passed away in a helicopter accident in 2001, decidedly putting an end to hopes of seeing the group’s classic lineup onstage again.