The farewell to Australian rock legend Jim Keays was a celebration of his life and Jim’s last house was to a full house in Melbourne’s Ormond Hall.
We learnt a few things about Jim Keays today. For starters, his first name was Kenny. He was born in Scotland and adopted out to the Keays family when he was 6 months old. 38 years later his birth mother tracked him down. It was then he discovered the truth that under pressure in the 1940s an unmarried woman was shamed into giving up her child.
Jim died on June 13, 2014, on his mother’s birthday.
We also learned that Jim never wore underpants. Russell Morris is to blame for that little snippet of information.
There were serious moments. There were light moments. The Jim Keays funeral was the sort of funeral we all want to have. Happy, sad, great music, good friends, family, well wishers.
Jim touched a lot of people’s heart and minds during his 50 year career, and according to Glenn Wheatley a lot of their bodies as well. Well it was the 60s and Jim was one of the biggest rock stars in the country.
The Masters Apprentices were to Australia what The Stones were to England and The Doors to America and Jim was a Rock God.
Molly Meldrum spoke about a man who do what he wanted to do and be what he wanted to be, without fear of repercussion. If anything went wrong, Jim’s answer was to just fix it.
Ted Lethborg who drove Jim’s final two albums ‘Dirty Dirty’ and the upcoming release ‘Age Against The Machine’ spoke of a genius in the studio who despite suffering from the awful infliction of cancer gave everything ounce of energy to make the two albums despite it draining him psychically.
Jim’s wife Karin spoke of a loving husband and father, her soulmate. “So it was that on Friday the 13th 2014 the planets aligned with the full moon in Sagittarius and The Boy from the Stars, my darling and best friend for over half my life, slipped peacefully from this lifetime wrapped in my arms, my lips on his cheek, whispering in his ear and guiding him home,” she said.
Daughters Bonnie and Holly spoke about “the best dad in the world”.
Russell Morris, Glenn Wheatley and Brad Shepherd then performed a Jim Keays and The Masters Apprentices classic ‘Because I Love You’.
Ormond Hall was chosen for a reason. In the 70s it was one of Melbourne’s main venues in the 60s and 70s. Dame Nellie Melba played there. So did AC/DC. It was also where Jim Keays and The Masters Apprentices, Skyhooks and Split Enz played many gigs.
Jim Keays was there in spirit but probably not in underpants (thanks again for that visual Russell).
It feels strange saying ‘what a great funeral’ but WHAT A GREAT FUNERAL.