Doc Neeson with the real angels now

Doc Neeson

A reunion of Australian rock legends gathered with family and friends at St Michael's Church, Lane Cove, to farewell Angels frontman Doc Neeson. 

Bernard 'Doc' Neeson, singer-songwriter

Born 1947, died 2014.

'Doc' Neeson, of the Australian rock band The Angels, has died aged 67. He had been suffering from a brain tumour and died in his sleep.

Known for his loud and energetic live performances, Neeson was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and emigrated to Adelaide with his family at the age of 13.

After time in the army and at university, in 1974 he was one of the founding members of a band called The Keystone Angels, which eventually  became known as The Angels.

As lead singer of The Angels, Neeson had a big string of hits from the 1970s through to the '90s.

The Angels' first single, Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again, took off slowly after its release in 1976, but later became an unofficial anthem for generations of Australian youth.

The ABC's Double J spoke with The Angels' drummer Buzz Bidstrup on Wednesday about Neeson's death.

'I saw Doc two days ago and we got to say goodbye. His body didn't work anymore. He was in bed and he wasn't able to do anything... now he's up there with the real angels,' Mr Bidstrup said.

Double J presenter Myf Warhurst says the band has gone on to influence other artists both in Australia and abroad.

'The Angels were a big influence on the likes of the Guns N' Roses, who the band opened for at one stage, and other groups like Nirvana and Sound Garden,' she said. 'They all didn't mind a bit of The Angels, so I think their reach was global, even though predominantly their success was Australian.'

In 1999, Neeson stepped aside as frontman of The Angels because of a spinal injury.

He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour just before Christmas in 2012.

Neeson's tumour was surgically removed and he began intensive rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

'It was a shock of course when somebody puts a use-by date on me, but I still hung on to a shred of hope that I'd get back on the stage at some point,' Neeson told Australian Story.

RELATED:

Doc Neeson laid to rest at Sydney church (The Daily Telegraph)

Belfast-born Doc Neeson dead, aged 67 (The Irish Echo)

Doc Neeson dead: Former Angels frontman dies aged 67 (ABC)

Doc Neeson's death propels two Angels albums back into Top 30 (TheMusic)

Australian rock legend Doc Neeson's bittersweet personal story (ABC)

WATCH:

Doc Neeson Story R.I.P. 1947-2014. Australian Story ABC TV (YouTube)

The Angels perform Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again (ABC)

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