Chris Bailey, from left, with friends Ross Clarke-Jones, Buzz Bidstrup and Robbie James in 2004.

Chris Bailey, from left, with friends Ross Clarke-Jones, Buzz Bidstrup and Robbie James in 2004. Photo: Janie Barrett

Chris Bailey, the bassist from seminal Australian pub rock band The Angels has died.

His death was announced overnight on Twitter by his bandmates, who said that throat cancer had claimed his life at the age of 63.

He played gritty, ferocious bass and partied for pleasure, never for oblivion. 

The former dental student from Adelaide, who once said he was inspired to take up music by Paul McCartney's basslines and Bob Dylan's lyrics, played on six of the Angels' albums; including the career-defining Face To Face. He later played with and managed another hit-making local group, GangGajang.

Journalist Anthony O'Grady, who edited music magazine RAM during the 1970s described Chris Bailey as "such a lovely, dignified, intelligent man".

"He played gritty, ferocious bass and partied for pleasure, never for oblivion. His smile will be missed," O'Grady said.

Putting his role in context, O'Grady described The Angels as "a good rock band" until Bailey joined in 1977 at which point "they became a great band".

"It was the rhythm section of Chris and drummer Buzz Bidstrup that powered the band's breakthrough album Face To Face in 1978 which charted for 79 weeks and sold 280,000."

As well as rock 'n roll, Bailey played with folk, pop, country and blues artists in a career that began with a riot in Adelaide and never really went quiet after that.

An already planned benefit concert on April 17 will now serve as a tribute to him, with performances by members of The Angels, Cold Chisel, Swanee, Australian Crawl, GangGajang and Jo Jo Zep, at Adelaide's Thebarton Theatre.