Chris Willman Senior Music Writer and Chief Music Critic Jack Lee, who co-fronted the influential L.A. band the Nerves in the late 1970s and saw his songs turn into major hits for Blondie and Paul Young, died May 26 in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 71. His death was revealed Wednesday in a press release, which revealed Lee died after battling colon cancer for three years. Although Lee had not had much public visibility in recent years, “he never gave up on his music,” his family said in a statement, “to the very end. His guitar, right by his side. He lived his songs. One by one they told the story of his life. Some dreams die. His never will.” His greatest success as a musician came with a pair of high-profile covers. Blondie recorded an extremely faithful cover of the Nerves’ “Hanging on the Telephone” in 1978 that remains one of the group’s most instantly identifiable signature songs to this day. (Blondie’s version went to No. 5 in the U.K., although, as an FM hit, it never charted in the U.S.) Paul Young found success in 1983 with “Come Back and Stay,” a song the Nerves wrote but never recorded; it first appeared on a Lee solo project a couple of years before Young had the hit. (The cover reached No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.) Young recorded a total of three Lee songs for his Euro-chart-topping debut album that year.