He was a leading figure in the 1970s Australian pub rock scene, particularly as a member of the bands Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs and the Coloured Balls. Known for his plectrum guitar technique, Loyde inspired a legion of Australian musicians, and was also cited as an influence by international musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Henry Rollins.
Born in Longreach, Queensland, as John Baslington Lyde, he first came to prominence under the name Barry Lyde in the Brisbane rhythm and blues band Purple Hearts in 1965. In January 1967, he left to join the second incarnation of the Melbourne band Wild Cherries, and he wrote most of the songs that made up the band's four singles for the Festival label.
The Coloured Balls can be best described as skinheads playing punk rock, about four years before punk emerged, heavily influenced by U.S. bands such as the MC5 and The Flamin' Groovies. Dances and concerts around Melbourne became battlegrounds between rival skinhead gangs, fuelled by the music of the Coloured Balls. The band released their debut album, Ball Power, in 1973. Loyde released the critically acclaimed album Obsecration, which was instrumentally based.
Loyde lived in the United Kingdom for several years, apparently unhappy with the Australian media's linking of his music to violent skinhead brawls. Before moving to the UK, he wrote a science-fiction novel and recorded an accompanying concept "soundtrack" album – Beyond Morgia: The Labyrinths of Klimster – over the course of one weekend. The manuscript was destroyed, and no film made of the story, but the master tapes of the album were found and released in Australia in 2007.
In 2005 he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and a benefit concert in Melbourne (at which Loyde himself played) raised $90,000 for his medical costs. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006. A fellow inductee, Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo said of Loyde:
More than anyone else, Lobby helped create the Australian guitar sound, long before Angus [Young] or Billy Thorpe or the Angels or Rose Tattoo. Lobby inspired Australian bands to step forward and play as loud and aggressively as they could. People are still trying to copy it today.
In August 2006, Loyde joined Rose Tattoo to replace slide guitarist Peter Wells, who had died of cancer. Loyde, himself gravely ill from cancer, had previously played bass for the band in the 1970s upon his return from the UK, replacing Geordie Leach. Loyde recorded an as-yet-unreleased album with the band.
The last album Loyde produced and performed on is entitled "The Odyssey" by Michael Fein, release date August 2008.
All of the above have been reissued on CD with additional tracks.