Pat DiNizio, the singer-songwriter who fronted and provided lead vocals for classic ‘80s power pop band The Smithereens, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 62. No cause of death has been provided for DiNizio, who incredibly performed with the group from the time of its formation in 1980 right up to his death.
“Today we mourn the loss of our friend, brother and bandmate Pat DiNizio,” said Smithereens bandmates Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, and Mike Mesaros, in a Facebook eulogy. “Pat had the magic touch. He channeled the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs, infused with a lifelong passion for rock & roll. Our journey with Pat was long, storied and a hell of a lot of fun. We grew up together. Little did we know that we wouldn’t grow old together. Goodbye Pat. Seems like yesterday.”
The band was founded in Carteret, N.J. in 1980, and is best remembered for their debut full-length album, 1986’s Especially For You, which contained such classics as “Blood and Roses” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep.” All of them featured DiNizio’s easily recognizable voice, and they encapsulated the late ‘80s power pop/college rock vibe of the day, alongside contemporaries such as R.E.M.
In fact, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills was among those who commented online on DiNizio’s passing. Via Twitter, he wrote the following:
All in all, The Smithereens released 11 studio albums with DiNizio, most recently putting out 2011 in the self-titled year in question. Paste also wrote a short appreciation of the band back in 2005, which you can read here. We wish the band’s remaining members the best as they come to terms with the loss of an iconic performer.