Bles Bridges (22 July 1947, Viljoensdrif, Free State) – 24 March 2000), born Lawrence John Gabriel Bridges, was a South African singer. He became known as Bles Bridges, as his Irish grandfather called him "Bles" (meaning "bald" in Afrikaans), due to his very thin hair from an early age.
He released his first album in 1982, Onbekende Weermagman (Unknown Soldier). His professional career began in 1984, with the release of his second album, Bles, which went gold in under a month (25,000 copies) and included Maggie, one of his better-known songs. The album had sold twice that by the time his third album was released. At the time of his death, Bles had sold more than two and a half million albums (records and CDs).
Soon Bles Bridges began alternating between Afrikaans and English language albums, to great acclaim. He also began working with Eurovision South Africa. In 2000, he began recording an album with his friends in the music industry. The first song - a duet with Patricia Lewis (and his last song as it turned out, as he died within a week of finishing it) - was "The First Kiss Goodnight" by Dennis East; it was recorded on 21 March 2000. His biggest hit was "Ruiter van die Windjie" (Rider of the Wind), which was released in 1986.
In the 1980s, he held a concert in support of the Volkshulpskema (People's Help Scheme) of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, a far right paramilitary organisation, which raised R10,000.
He had cancer during the 1980s and gave generously to charity for cancer research after his recovery. His wife Leonie was his sound engineer and the composer and/or songwriter of most of his songs, including most of his biggest hits, including "Maggie" and "I am the Eagle, you're the Wind", among others. It was his custom to hand out roses to some of the female audience members in the front row at his concerts.
His career highlight was when he performed to a soldout Superbowl at Sun City, five times on one weekend, becoming the first and only artist to do so, as feature artist on 14 and 15 May 1987. He actually managed to draw a bigger crowd than Frank Sinatra did when he opened the Super Bowl in 1982.
Bles died in a motorcar accident on 24 March 2000,leaving behind his wife, Leonie, and children Sunette and Victor. More than 15,000 mourners turned up for his funeral.
Albums released (Records and CDs)
Onbekende Weermagman - 1982
Bles - 1984
Uit die Boonste Rakke - 1985
Vir een en Almal - 1986
I Am the Eagle, You're the Wind - 1986
Reik Na Die Sterre - 1987
Fight For Love - 1987
Laat My Lewe, Laat My Liefhê - 1988
Ons Eerste Ontmoeting - 1989
Nog 'N Nuwe Dag - 1989
The Devil and the Song - 1989
Let Me Love You - 1990
Back on My Feet Again - 1991
Soos Nooit Tevore - 1992
Am I That Easy To Forget - 1993
One Dance With You - 1994
Grootste Treffers - 1994
Sproetjies Kom Terug - 1995
Love and Roses - My Greatest Hits - 1996
Die Hart Van My Moeder - 1997
Sweef Soos 'N Arend - 1998
Classics My Way - 1998
Country my Way - 1999
Goue & Platinum Treffers Deur Die Jare Heen - 2000"
Môre Bring 'N Nuwe Dag - 2000"
Goue & Platinum Treffers Deur Die Jare Heen (Vol II) - 2000" (released 26 September 2000)