Music promoter and Summer Of Love father CHET HELMS has died of complications from a stroke in San Francisco, California. He was 62.

Helms passed away on Saturday (25JUN05) surrounded by friends and family, including his wife Judy Davis, in the California Pacific Medical Center.

Helms was responsible for launching the career of singing legend JANIS JOPLIN, who fronted his band BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY between 1966-68.

As the centre of the San Francisco's Bay Area music scene, Helms staged a number of free concerts and calm protests against the US's war in Vietnam, which became the backdrop of the city's Summer Of Love in 1967.

His wife Davis says, "It was a beautiful death. It was a goodbye party. We all sang to him and told stories. He died as he lived - surrounded by love."

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH guitarist BARRY MELTON laments, "Without Chet, there would be no Grateful Dead, no Big Brother and the Holding Company, no Jefferson Airplane, no Country Joe And The Fish, no QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE."

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart adds, "Chet was a hippie. We were all hippies. He hated to charge for the music."

26/06/2005 09:30