LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jim Pike, co-founder and lead singer of The Lettermen, whose lush vocal harmonies made the Grammy-nominated trio one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1960s, has died at age 82.
Pike died June 9 at his home in Prescott, Arizona, his sister-in-law Becky Pike told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s Disease.
Pike and Bob Engemann, a college buddy from Brigham Young University, formed The Lettermen in Los Angeles in 1961 with fellow singer Tony Butala.
They were looking for a name that would resonate with young people, Pike’s younger brother, Gary, said Wednesday, when Engemann suggested The Lettermen. Butala noted that he’d briefly sung with a group using that name and he’d have to ask its leader for permission.
“Tony called him up and he said he wasn’t using it, so they said, ‘Yay. We’re going to use it,” Gary Pike recalled with a laugh.