Founding member and long-time Heartsfield songwriter, singer, and guitarist Perry Jordan has died at 62 on June 29, 2011.
After suffering a heart attack about a year ago, Jordan remained hospitalized as his health declined. However, his spirits remained positive. Just days before he died, he said to a hospice nurse, "Kiss me."
He toured with some of the biggest names in the music business, from Eric Clapton to the Doobie Brothers, and the Charlie Daniels Band to Lynyrd Skynyrd, not to mention Fleetwood Mac, Waylon Jennings, Molly Hatchet, the Marshall Tucker Band, Kiss and .38 Special.
Jim Peterik, of Ides of March and Survivor fame, called Mr. Jordan "an American original — equal parts cowboy and hippie. His spirit was so infectious...He’d walk in a room and say, �?Hey, Darlings.’" They co-wrote a song, "Lost in a Daze Dream," on Heartsfield’s latest CD, "Here I Am" .
Memories from his friends, family, and musical colleagues appear below. A detailed obituary appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Nearly forty years after Perry's music debuted on Heartsfield's timeless self-titled album, the band still plays his tunes, fans keep listening, and his spirit reminds us all to "Keep on smilin'."
"Hey, hey, Music Eyes, Play a tune for me.
I’m lookin’ for surprises, Somethin’ new to be.
Send me your sweetest notes, Send them through the night.
Like a good-time story, It’s just turning out all right."
—Perry Jordan, "Music Eyes," 1972
From Jessica Jordan-Champagne
Perhaps you can imagine Perry Jordan as a friend, music buddy, performer or lover. But, can you imagine him as your father? Let’s just say I have had a very different perspective on life and what is normal having Perry Jordan as my dad. Imagine growing up falling asleep at concerts late on a Friday night and going home in the band van after the gig. My dad did not care much for social norms; including the volume that one spoke in public or the number of different color doors a car should have. My dad was always the life of the party, even when it was MY PARTY! I had to grow up with EVERYONE loving my dad and thinking he was so funny all the time. I had to grow up laughing and listening to loud music. I had to grow up watching people swoon over my dad, GROSS!
One of my earliest memories of my dad was at my ballerina performance when I was 7 years old. Can you imagine? All the other parents there were nice and quiet and normal. Then there was my Dad who was NONE of the above. The teacher asked if anyone knew the French word for “jumping” and without missing a beat dad says “jjjjumping” in his best French accent. Instantly everyone laughs and he is a friend to all. It was not until I got older that I could appreciate that part of my dad. It is hard to share your dad with a love so passionate that you know it overrides your own needs. No I am not speaking of dogs or women (although these take a close 2nd and third), but his music. He was always first and foremost a musician – a performer. I loved that about him and I also hated it. I spent my childhood pining for a “normal” dad. I finally got over the fact that my Dad was not going to be the normal model and fit into the box that dad’s usually fit into. Not a chance! I also realized that I would not want him to be normal. We got over the expectations of our roles and decided to love one another for who we were and not who we were supposed to be. This was a beautiful thing. We evolved in our love.
My dad taught me to do what I love regardless the rationale. He taught me to be passionate with my life and my precious time here. He taught me to not care what others think of me, just be myself and more people will like me for it. He taught me to seize the moment. He inspired me to take risks. He was there for me when I made mistakes and did not judge me for them. The only time he judged my choice was when I dabbled with a corporate job in the city for a while. That just made him shudder. He was my biggest fan. He made me laugh. He made me part stubborn German and part fun lovin’ hillbilly. He has taught me to speak up for myself and not take crap from anybody. He encouraged me to be philosophical and question authority. My dad instilled in me a great fear of being “standard” and I thank my lucky stars. My dad taught me to be tough and independent. My dad gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I wanted, and guess what, I am doing what I want! I am so thankful I chose him to be my Dad, no matter how bizarre it was. I love who I have become and I know he had something to do with it. I love you dad and I have you right here in my heart and in my daughter’s eyes and in my son’s sense of humor – you live on!
Your daughter, Jessica
PS: You thought imagining him as a dad was weird, what about imagining him as a grandpa? VERY WEIRD! And fun.
From Steve Eddington
Perry will never be gone.
I will not speak of him in past tense, or say how great he "was."
Those of us who knew him well, knew all of his virtues, his passions, his conflicts as well as his spiritual energy. When Perry was in the room, the room generally yielded to his way, his vibe...because he was, undeniably, the man holding the cards. The universe surrendered and the wind whipped when he strapped on his guitar…. his weapon against all that was bad.
The first time I saw him on stage, I said..."who IS that guy?"
That night, years ago, we linked up, we connected, and my life changed because there was now a Perry Jordan in it. You all have similar stories... I know you do.
There is no way to sum up this man...but for me, he is an inspiration on many levels. As a musician, he inspires me to be a better writer, singer and player. As a human being, Perry set an example of what a person is like when they refuse to compromise on their dreams.
He just didn't compromise.
He knows WHO he is and what he is supposed to be doing, and he does it...Hell or high water.
I remember times when he would call me on the phone on the day of a gig and scream..."WE GET TO PLAY TONIGHT!"
I would scream it back at him.
We are so lucky, we players…. we all love what we do, and that love glues everything down tightly, and it translates the malaise into dreams that we must dream.So, I love him… and all his baggage, his expressions, his spin, his flirtations, his growl, his character, his challenged soul… and his infectious smile. It all adds up to a life that was uniquely his brand, and a life that was lived as only he would have lived it...full on.
From Freddie Dobbs
Here are some thoughts about "Pear Bear" as he used to refer to himself at times.
Perry, thanks for the spirit and joy you always had when it came to playing music. Your songs were always so much fun to perform and still are. "It was quite a ride." Keep on smilin' brother.
From Dick Reck
Since I met Perry Jordan, I have laughed every single day. He was a great friend and a great business partner. To say more would diminish the impact on me that he has had.