“In 52 years, and with nearly as many lineup changes, Savoy Brown has had two constants: a blues influence and Kim Simmonds,” ABS‘s JD Nash said in his 2017 review of the Ruf Records release Witchy Feelin’. Continuing, “Simmonds, the multi-instrumentalist and current lead singer, founded the band in 1965. Being one of the first racially integrated groups in the UK gave them a hook. Their Chicago blues style repertoire gave them staying power.”
I could not agree more, and in my opinion he was an exemplar of “blues-rock,” a genre whose words often get carelessly thrown around. His innate sense of melody spun classic blues riffs into pure rock and roll gold.
It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Kim Simmonds, one of the pioneers of the 1960s British Blues Boom. He was 75. The guitarist and primary songwriter had been battling stage 4 signet cell colon cancer, a very rare form that accounts for no more than 1% of cases.
“SCCC is rarely found early enough to provide a chance for cure,” he said in a statement last August. “I’ve been receiving chemotherapy and that has made it hard for me to play gigs. One of the side effects is peripheral neuropathy which has now deadened the nerves in my fingers and hands (feet too).”
Simmonds switched to slide guitar which made it easier to play with his condition. Prior to his illness, tracks for a new album were in the bag. “I’m super happy with all the songs and I believe you will be too upon listening.”