Bernard "Doc" Neeson was the charismatic singer and songwriter with the seminal Australian rock band the Angels. In the late 1970s they were Australia's highest-paid band and continued with a string of hits into the 1990s.
He was born into a Catholic family in Belfast in 1947, emigrating with his family to Adelaide when he was 13. He was studying to become a teacher when he was drafted into the Australian army in the late 1960s but he avoided the Vietnam War when the army became aware of his education training. He was sent to Papua New Guinea to teach the Pacific Island Regiment.
Neeson later took advantage of a returned soldiers' scheme to study film-making in Adelaide. He met musicians there and formed the Moonshine Jug and String Band, which morphed into the Keystone Angels and then the Angels.
The Angels' first single, "Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again", released in 1976, became a youth anthem. Audiences around Australia still reply with an expletive-laden response to the song's chorus decades later. Neeson said he heard what he described as "the response" or "the chant" from audiences in London and the Middle East, as well as around Australia.
"In a way, I'm really delighted to hear that because it's Australian audiences making the song their own," he said last month. "When the band had first started, we were trying to write songs for Australian audiences, and they've made it their own in a way I never would have thought possible."
Neeson died in his sleep at his Sydney home. "He has battled with a brain tumour for the last 17 months and sadly lost his fight," his family said in a statement.
Bernard Patrick Neeson, musician: born Belfast 4 January 1947; partner to Annie Souter (four children); died Sydney 4 June 2014.Reuse content