Chad Stuart, one half of ’60s hitmaking folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, has died, as announced by a post on the duo’s Facebook page this Sunday (Dec. 20). According to the post, Stuart contracted pneumonia in the fall, after having been admitted to the hospital for non-COVID-related reasons. He was 79.
Stuart, born David Stuart Chadwick, met Jeremy Clyde at London’s Central School For Speech and Drama, and the pair started performing together as a folk duo in the early ’60s. After briefly attempting a side rock band and separating after graduation, they reassembled as Chad & Jeremy — both members singing and playing guitar — and released their debut single, the upbeat-but-melancholy “Yesterday’s Gone,” in 1963.
The song became a No. 37 hit in their home country, but was more successful on U.S. shores, where it peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, as part of a growing wave of popular post-Beatles U.K. acts collectively known as the British Invasion. The group would score two more Stateside hits off their eventual 1964 album, also titled Yesterday’s Gone: “A Summer Song” (No. 7) and “Willow Weep For Me” (No. 15).
The former, a wistful, string-laden and impossibly lovely goodbye ballad, would endure as a signature hit for the duo. It received contemporaneous covers from successful ’60s acts The Lettermen and Skeeter Davis., and later appeared in movies as far-reaching as Wes Anderson indie favorite Rushmore, Anne Hathaway teen fantasy The Princess Diaries and blockbuster sci-fi comedy sequel Men in Black III — as well as a 2019 ad for Coors Light.
The duo continued to record successfully through the mid-’60s, scoring four subsequent top 40 hits: “If I Loved You” (No. 23, 1965), “Before & After” (No. 17, 1965), “I Don’t Wanna Lose You Baby” (No. 35, 1965) and “Distant Shores” (No. 30, 1966). They were also frequent television guests during this period, appearing as fictional versions of themselves on both The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Patty Duke Show, and even as themselves on an episode of the original Batman TV series.
With folk falling out of favor somewhat in the late ’60s, the duo attempted a pivot to psychedelia with 1967’s Of Cabbages and Kings album — which was released under the name “Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde,” and found poor commercial reception. The two released one more album together, 1968’s The Ark, before going their separate ways later that year.
Stuart continued to find work in entertainment after Chad & Jeremy’s split, becoming the musical director for the Smothers Brothers’ variety TV show, and later working as a staff producer for A&M Records. The duo informally reunited in the late ’70s, and eventually began to record and tour again, releasing the Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde album in 1983.
They separated again from 1987 to 2002, but resumed touring for much of the 21st century, playing at a number of ’60s and British Invasion-themed gigs and on such package tours, before Stuart officially retired to Sun Valley, Idaho in the late ’10s. “He just loves being at home and puttering about,” Clyde said about Stuart in 2019. “He has a shed and he does all sorts of woodwork, and feeds the birds and watches and identifies them, and has a lovely time.”
Read the full Facebook announcement of Stuart’s death below.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Chad Stuart, a father, a husband, a brother, a grandfather, a friend, a mentor, a teacher and an inspiration to many. Chad developed pneumonia (non covid related) after he was admitted to the hospital due to a fall. We ask for love, celebration but also space while the family adjusts to life without this incredible force. The family would like to thank his fans from around the world for the outpouring of birthday wishes and gifts he received every year. Chad took the time to read each and every card. The world has lost a legend today, but his voice will continue to touch our lives through his music.