Pony Boys Singer Jimmy Armstrong Dies

Immeasurably gifted Cleveland vocalist Jimmy Armstrong, who fronted the Pony Boys in the late ’80s, has died. Armstrong was known for his soulful new wave croon and his riveting stage presence, and the Pony Boys, who included Michael Acord on percussion, John Pappa  on bass, Armstrong’s co-writer Eric Elliot on keyboards, Steve Christensen on trumpet, and noted local recording engineer Jim DeMain provided a skilled and seamless platform for him to work off of.

The group released a single album Rondolets and Murder Hymns, a six-song EP, in 1988. That album earned gushing reviews and copious predictions of future stardom for the group.

Unfortunately, Armstrong’s substance demons prevented the band from going very far, and it broke up within about a year of the album’s release. It was the only significant piece of music he ever released, but one much cherished by many Cleveland music fans. Armstrong continued to perform from time to time, doing standards in clubs, something he certainly had the voice and charisma for. But the ability to make something of his own inherent creativity continued to elude him.

Armstrong was 55.

Funeral information is here.



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2 Responses to “Pony Boys Singer Jimmy Armstrong Dies”

  1. Neil Steinberg

    Very sad news. I went to Berea High School with Jimmy. Everybody looked up to him. He was an artist with an edge, even then, a tough guy and a softie. And a fine musician. I saw the Pony Boys play the Agora — opening for the Eurythmics, if you can believe that—in 1984. It’s a shame he couldn’t overcome his troubles. A free spirit, Jimmy was. There was nobody like him.

  2. Tom McLaughlin

    My friends and I would go to see the Pony Boys every time they played. After I moved to Maryland, before their EP came out, I had my parents buy me a couple copies which i picked up the next time I came to visit. I still play that Ep to this day. Whenever I came to cleveland I would look to see where jimmy and Eric were playing and go see them. jimmy would always remember me and sit with me between sets. I wish there were recordings of him singing the standards available. he was a great talent. I’m sorry I only heard about his passing now.

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