Share

Jim Pike, co-founder of Lettermen vocal group, dies at 82

Share

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jim Pike, co-founder and lead singer of The Lettermen, whose lush vocal harmonies made the Grammy-nominated trio one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1960s, has died at age 82.

Pike died June 9 at his home in Prescott, Arizona, his sister-in-law Becky Pike told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s Disease.

Pike and Bob Engemann, a college buddy from Brigham Young University, formed The Lettermen in Los Angeles in 1961 with fellow singer Tony Butala.

They were looking for a name that would resonate with young people, Pike’s younger brother, Gary, said Wednesday, when Engemann suggested The Lettermen. Butala noted that he’d briefly sung with a group using that name and he’d have to ask its leader for permission.

“Tony called him up and he said he wasn’t using it, so they said, ‘Yay. We’re going to use it,” Gary Pike recalled with a laugh.

Trending:
'Holiday Nightmare Comes True' When Man Makes Strange Discovery in a Ravine on His Property

Later that year the group had its first hit with the Grammy-nominated “The Way You Look Tonight,” which peaked at No. 13 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The Lettermen would place 19 more songs on Billboard charts over the next 10 years.

Two made the Top 10, 1962’s “When I Fall in Love” and the Grammy-nominated 1968 medley “Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” Their last hit was 1971’s “Everything is Good About You.”

The Lettermen also earned Grammy nominations for best new artist of 1961 and for 1962’s “A Song For Young Love.”

Through those years the group toured constantly, playing colleges across the country and other venues around the world.

The constant touring wore out Pike’s voice and he left the group in 1973, replaced by his youngest brother, Donny Pike. Gary Pike had replaced Engemann in 1967.

After regaining his voice Pike formed a group called The Reunion with Engemann.

The Lettermen, with Butala as the only remaining founding member, continues to tour. Engemann died in 2013.

In addition to his brothers, Pike is survived by his sister, Candace Doyle, his wife Sue and his daughter, Kelly Pike.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation

Notice: Due to threatened de-monetization, we have temporarily removed commenting while we build a long-term commenting solution that allows you to voice your opinion freely and allows us to continue to publish the news fearlessly and cover topics that you care about. If you would like to personally partner with The Western Journal to help us continue publishing while under relentless assault by Big Tech, please visit our subscription page here. We encourage you to share this article and discuss with your friends.