Passings: Jimmy Beaumont of the Skyliners (1940 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Jimmy Beaumont, lead singer and songwriter for The Skyliners, died Saturday in his McKeesport, PA home at the age of 76.

At the age of 18, Beaumont was a member of the local group The Crescents when their promo man, Joe Rock, wrote lyrics for a song about his girlfriend leaving for flight school. Rock gave the words to Beaumont who wrote the music for "Since I Don't Have You" (the actual songwriting was finally attributed to Rock and all of the members of the Skyliners).

The stunning song, which has gone on to be a classic, was rejected by thirteen labels before finally being picked up by Calico. Upon its initial release, the record went to number 12 on Billboard, 7 on Cash Box and 3 on the R&B Singles. It had a resurgence of popularity in the early-70's when it was used in the film American Graffiti and was part of the number 1 soundtrack.

The group's followup, "This I Swear", went to 26 and a later cover of "Pennies From Heaven" peaked at 24.

The Skyliners broke up in 1963 and Beaumont went on to record solo for Bang Records. Jimmy left music business in 1970, not long after the reunited Skyliners appeared at a Madison Square Garden oldies concert, to become a cab driver.

In 1975, the Skyliners went into the studio and cut "Where Have They Gone" a minor hit that went to 100 on the Singles chart but was enough of a push to get Beaumont back into the business full time. He has had a version of the Skyliners since that time until his passing.  His final show was last month.

Beaumont is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.


UPDATE:

The Skyliners have issued a statement:

We are deeply saddened beyond words as we inform all of our relatives, friends, and fans of the passing of James L. (Jimmy) Beaumont on October 7, 2017. The sorrow we feel at this time cannot adequately be expressed, but your thoughts and prayers are now needed for his entire family and all those who were near and dear to his heart. This truly includes his fans and avid supporters throughout the 58 plus years he sang and entertained so many with a singing voice so unique, powerful, and melodic that it remains unmatched today by few, if any. Jimmy wrote songs. Songs that told stories. Stories that made us think about both happy and sad times. One way or another, Jimmy Beaumont touched the world with music. How he touched our lives is his living legacy. Jimmy became part of us and this was his personal satisfaction. His contributions to the pop music industry are immeasurable and will live in our memories each and every time we hear those classic opening chords from any of the Skyliners' hits. Being part of your lives was a normal part of his. Help us to celebrate what he loved best whenever you remember where you were and what you were doing as you sang to "Since I Don't Have You" or danced to "This I Swear". His affect on musical style is truly remarkable. Please take a moment to say a quiet thank you the next time you hear one of our tunes and know that it would bring a famous Jimmy smile to the spirit of the man behind the music. Thank you for your loyalty as fans throughout the years of Skyliners' music. We would have been so very little without your love.
Sincerely,
The Skyliners

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