Vale Hummingbirds vocalist-guitarist Simon Holmes

simon holmesSimon Holmes with the reformed Hummingbirds at their sold-out Sydney show in 2016. Murray Bennett photo

Simon Holmes, member of influential Sydney fuzz-pop band The Hummingbirds, has passed away suddenly. His son, Milo C. St Clare-Holmes, made the announcement on his father’s Facebook page yesterday.

His passing was marked by another brief message on The Hummingbirds’ Facebook page: “Simon Holmes, beloved father, friend to countless and our band mate, passed away last week. Our hearts are broken.” It prompted a massive outpouring of grief across social media. 

The Hummingbirds formed in 1986 and made an immediate impact on the Sydney scene with their crafty, catchy pop, releasing the “Alimony” single on Phantom, before signing to the rooArt label. Their single, "Blush", peaked at No.19 on the ARIA singles charts in 1989.

Holmes was guitarist and vocalist with the band who released two albums (“loveBUZZ” and “Va Va Voom”) before breaking up in 1993. They reformed for the Big Day Out in Sydney in 2011 and a couple of more times recently. In April, Simon and The Hummingbirds played on a bill in Sydney in tribute to The Cure.

In the 1990s, Simon was involved in running the Half a Cow bookshop and his own "Enthusiasms" music retail shop. More recently, he’d recorded with a number of bands, including Her Name In Lights, and had a radio program on Sydney community station 2SER-FM.

The I-94 Bar’s Edwin Garland writes:

I am very sad.. one of the true gentleman of the Sydney music scene has passed on. Simon Holmes ...I have known Simon since 1982. I even borrowed a pedal for some the first home recordings I made.  I remember (Simon) when he played in bands down at Sussex hotel and eventually forming The Hummingbirds. Long conversations about Bukowski and Kerourac, down at Half a Cow bookshop, which he managed.

Simon was a sort of bloke who found time for a conversation: and was deeply committed not only to his music, the local scene and his love of alternative writers Everyone loved Simon Holmes; he was so humble and everyone always spoke highly of the man. He is greatly missed already and all my love goes to his family.

A Rememberance Blog has been opened here for condolence messages.


Tags: hummingbirds, simon holmes, half a cow

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  • Guest - Rory

    In 1989 just as the Hummingbirds were blowing up all over the country I was in the foyer of the enmore theatre as the Ramones were launching into their first song. Simon was in a rush to get to his seat, running past, when I called out 'Hey Simon, congratulations on the single mate'. He stopped. Came over to me and thanked me warmly and asked my name then stayed and chatted for a few minutes before running off to catch the show. A warm and lovely fellow and a talented songwriter and producer. Deepest condolences to his loved ones. Vale Simon.

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  • Guest - J

    Devastating news. The Hummingbirds were my favourite indie band in the early 90s. Saw them a million times, and Simon at Half a Cow in Newtown. Also flew to Sydney to see one of their reunion shows in 2011 (?) Sad, sad news. Much love to his family and friends.

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  • Guest - Stacky

    Very sad to hear this news. A really warm, salt of the earth affable person. When he ran Enthusiasms he had a return policy of no questions asked/within a week which was welcome given the vagaries of vinyl. Great customer focus & what he would have liked as a punter himself so to speak. One of his quirks was to introduce strangers to each other in his shop with some very funny ensuing exchanges. I well remember he had the best reggae import stock in Sydney. My lasting memory though is sharing his pleasure when showing his beaming smile at having discovered a primo double gatefold copy of Fairport Convention's Liege and Leaf; yet he was an unassailably unapologetic committed YES fan from Canberra.

    Much later we met him in the hallway at my workplace in one of his other job capacities as a representative of a major academic text publisher. Small world and even lesser with his loss.

    Simon also moved into my neck of the woods up Kurrajong way. I went through used records @ a local garage sale & could tell the good stuff had gone. All the AC/DC gone for a song! I enquired of the lady & she described Simon to a tee. I joked about it with him later and he apologised (unnecessarily of course). What a grand guy.

    Condolences to his family.

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