Chad Stuart, who, as half of the hit British Invasion duo Chad & Jeremy had a string of whispery folk-pop hits in the mid-1960s that included “A Summer Song,” “Yesterday’s Gone” and “Distant Shores,” died December 20 of pneumonia at his home in Hailey, ID. He was 79.
His death was announced on the official Chad & Jeremy Facebook page:
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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Chad Stuart, a father, a husband, a brother, a grandfather, a friend, a mentor, a teacher and an inspiration to many. Chad developed pneumonia (non-Covid related) after he was admitted to the hospital due to a fall. We ask for love, celebration but also space while the family adjusts to life without this incredible force. The family would like to thank his fans from around the world for the outpouring of birthday wishes and gifts he received every year. Chad took the time to read each and every card. The world has lost a legend today, but his voice will continue to touch our lives through his music.
Stuart is the father of General Hospital actor James Patrick Stuart, whose credits include All My Children, Supernatural and Seinfeld. In a 1996 episode of the latter, the younger Stuart played Elaine’s latest beau, a man obsessed with with the Eagles song “Desperado.”
With their guitars and pleasant if not exactly traditional teen-idol faces, Chad Stuart, distinguished by his trademark black-rimmed eyeglasses, and Jeremy Clyde, friends since their undergraduate days at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, scored big during the first rush of the Beatles-inspired British Invasion of America. The duo’s 1963 Stuart-penned UK hit “Yesterday’s Gone” made the U.S. charts the following year.
The wistful “A Summer Song,” co-written by Stuart, was even more successful, hitting the Top 10 on U.S. charts, the most successful in a series of hits that also included “Willow Weep for Me” and “Distant Shores.”
So popular were their hits — and amiable their personalities — that Chad & Jeremy became a sort of go-to for American TV series looking to tap into the British Invasion phenomenon. In 1965 the duo made an appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show (as fictional act The Redcoats) and appeared a week later on The Patty Duke Show as fictional duo Nigel & Patrick.
They played traveling actors in 1966 on the Western series Laredo, and in 1967 Stuart lent his voice to Disney’s The Jungle Book as the Beatlesque mop-topped Flap the Vulture.
But perhaps their most memorable TV performance, at least for a generation of young viewers, was their appearance in a two-part 1966 episode of Batman, in which Julie Newmar’s Catwoman stole their voices by utilizing a mysterious box. The Batman villainess then attempted to blackmail the UK by pointing out the potentially massive tax losses the duo’s silencing would create.
Two years later, Chad & Jeremy disbanded, with Stuart continuing in the music industry and touring and Clyde building a busy career as an actor on stage and British television, up to and including Downton Abbey. The duo would reunite occasionally over the years for concerts and nostalgia package tours.
Stuart retired in 2016. He is survived by his wife, Judy Shelly, and his children from two previous marriages including daughter Beth Stuart, and sons Andrew, James Patrick and Beau, and stepchildren Hallie Kelly, Devin Kelly, Cassi Shelly and Owen Shelly.
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