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Passings: Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens (1955 - 2017)

DiNizio (center)
by VVN Music

Pat DiNizio, the singer and songwriter best known for his part in the Smithereens, died on Tuesday (December 12) at the age of 62.

No cause of death was announced but it is known that he had been recovering from issues that came about after a fall in late-September. At the time, he posted a message that "REPORTS OF MY DEMISE HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED!" and, on Saturday (December 9), posted the following:

I have been receiving very good care and several physical therapy sessions at home each week here at Hollingsworth House in Scotch Plains (a Victorian farmhouse built in 1885 that I purchased 20 years ago - I am only the 3rd owner of the house!) and rest assured I am receiving the best medical care and attention possible to repair the damage done to my neck and back in my recent falls.

He finished by saying "See you soon".

His death was announced on Facebook:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of the influential New Jersey rock band, The Smithereens - America's Band.

Pat was looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing his many fans and friends. Please keep Pat in your thoughts and prayers.

DiNizio was born in Scotch Plains, NJ and formed the Smithereens with Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros and Dennis Diken in 1980. They released two EP's, Girls About Town (1980) and Beauty and Sadness (1983) before putting out their first full-length album, Especially For You (1986 / #51) on Enigma/Capitol). The album included two moderate Mainstream Rock hits in "Blood & Roses" and "Behind the Wall of Sleep".

The followed with Green Thoughts (1988), with their number 1 Mainstream Rock hit "Only a Memory", and 11 (1989) with "A Girl Like You" (1989 / #38 Pop / #3 Modern Rock / #2 Mainstream Rock) and "Blues Before and After" (1990 / #94 Pop / #18 Modern Rock / #7 Mainstream Rock).

The Smithereens were known for their retro-60's sound that was attributed mainly to DiNizio, later recording Meet the Smithereens! (2007), a rerecording of the Beatles' Meet the Beatles, B-Sides The Beatles (2008) and The Smithereens Play Tommy (2009). Overall, they released eleven studio albums.

DiNizio also had a separate solo career, releasing four studio albums from 1997's Songs and Sounds to 2009's Buddy Holly. In 2000, he launched a solo trek, "The Living Room Tour", playing for four months in fan's living rooms.

It was also in 2000 that DiNizio ran for the U.S. Senate on the Reform Party. The next year, he became an early employee of XM Satellite Radio as program director for their independent station. He later became an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards judging panel.

DiNizio's bandmates released their own statement, saying:

Today we mourn the loss of our friend, brother and bandmate Pat DiNizio. 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.