Hludzik was 68 and died after a lengthy battle with dementia.
Hludzik got his start with music playing in bands like The Odd Powers, Happiness and Moses, but his musical impact is perhaps most strongly felt from progressive rock band The Buoys, formed with Bill Kelly.
The Buoys’ song “Timothy” drew national attention with their song “Timothy,” which rose to number 17 on the Billboard Top 40 chart.
Written by songwriter Rupert Holmes, who also wrote hits like “Escape (The Piña Colada Song),” “Timothy” was a controversial song at the time, with lyrics that implied trapped miners resorted to cannibalism after an event very loosely based on the Shepton, PA Mine Disaster in 1963.
After the split-up of The Buoys in he mid-1970s, Hludzik formed Jerry-Kelly with Kelly, which eventually went on to become Dakota. Dakota saw another hit for Hludzik, with the 1980 single “If It Takes All Night” peaking at number 78 on Billboard’s chart. The band went on to open for Queen on The Game Tour.
The last time he performed before an audience was on the Pittston Tomato Festival stage in August 2018 with his Buoys and Dakota bandmate and friend Billy Kelly.
On the phone, Kelly, who lives in Nashville, said he has been besieged with phone calls and web messages asking him to comment on Hludizk’s passing. He said he wanted to wait a few days to clear his head and get the OK from Hludzik’s wife Annie before he made a public comment. In 2018, at a tribute show for Jerry after his diagnosis, Kelly said, “He truly has a legacy of great music and he has inspired so many from the valley, including me.”
The Buoys song "Timothy" reached no. 15 on Billboard. With Kelly, he produced a national Top 10 hit for fellow NEPA native, Jimmy Harnen, was a staff songwriter for MCA music in Nashville in the late ’80s/early ’90s, co-writing four songs for the Oak Ridge Boys.