Jack Lee Dies: Front Of L.A.’s The Nerves And Songwriter For Blondie, Paul Young Hits Was 71

Jack Lee, part of the influential Los Angeles band The Nerves in the 1970s and later a hit songwriter, died May 26 in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 71. He died after a long battle with colon cancer.

Lee is best remembered for his song “Hanging on the Telephone,” which Blondie covered from The Nerves version. Lee also wrote Paul Young’s “Come Back And Stay.”

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Lee was one of three singer-songwriters in the Nerves. The band started in San Francisco, then moved to Los Angeles in 1977 to ride the power pop trend of that moment. Lee, the guitarist, was joined by Peter Case on bass and Paul Collins on drums. Case went on to form The Plimsouls, while Collins was the founder of The Beat.

The group had just one self-titled EP released in 1976 on Bomp! After the Nerves breakup, Lee had two solo recordings.

A memorial is planned at the Echoplex nightclub in Echo Park, date TBD. Survivors include his children Wallie Autry, Grace Lee, Mary Lee, and Cynthia Jacqueline Lee Cook; grandchildren Jack Autry, Brenlee Autry, Adam Mejia, Alana Joy Nichols, Jackson Cook, and Hudson Cook; half siblings Robert Emiel Lee, Virginia E. Lee, and Katherine Lee; and wife Mieke Sofia Lee.

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