Bassist Ronnie Peel, AKA Rockwell T. James, has died

Known for his solo 1977 hit 'Roxanne' and playing in The La De Das and the John Paul Young Allstars

Australian bassist Ronnie Peel, known for his 1977 hit ‘Roxanne’ under the moniker of Rockwell T. James, has reportedly died over the weekend.

A number of friends and collaborators appeared to confirm Peel’s passing in social media posts yesterday (November 1).

Daryl Braithwate offered his condolences to Peel’s family on social media this morning, writing that he was a “a kind lovely soul”.


“I have fond memories of many tours with JPY [John Paul Young]… we would all congregate on the rocks in summer down at Tamarama,” he said.

The Facebook page for the John Paul Young Allstars band also noted Peel’s loss, calling him a “dear brother” and “one of the foundations” of the band.

Peel’s cause of death is currently unknown.

My condolences to the family and friends of Ronnie Peel who died yesterday . Ronnie was such a kind lovely soul.I have…

Posted by Daryl Braithwaite on Sunday, November 1, 2020

Peel began his musical career with proto-punk band The Missing Links in Sydney in 1964. He left the band before the release of their debut album to join Brisbane group The Pleazers.

After that band disbanded in 1967, Peel adopted the name Rockwell T. James. He carried the title through a group called The Rhythm Aces before joining The La De Das in 1972.


After the album ‘Rock & Roll Sandwich’, Peel joined the John Paul Young Allstars to tour and record from 1975 to 1979.

It is with great sadness that we lost one of the foundations of the All Star Band this morning. Forever our dear brother, Ronnie Peel. R.I.P. "the man with the feel" Ronnie Peel.

Posted by John Paul Young & The Allstar Band on Saturday, October 31, 2020

As Rockwell T. James, Peel scored a surprise top 40 hit with ‘Roxanne’. It would appear on his only solo album, ‘A Shot of Rhythm & Blues’, a year later.

Watch Peel perform ‘Roxanne’ on Countdown below:

For the rest of his career, Peel would play in others’ groups, including Stevie Wright, Scattered Aces and Slightly Shadey.

In 2013, he reemerged as The Rockwells with guitarist Bobby Fletcher, playing and recording country rock covers. ‘Cover Story’, their 2015 debut album, was Peel’s last release.

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