Friday, March 25, 2016

Jon English

Jon English was an English-born Australian singer, songwriter, musician and actor. He emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1961. He was an early vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Sebastian Hardie but left to take on the role of Judas Iscariot in the Australian version of the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar from May 1972, which was broadcast on television. English was also a noted solo singer; his Australian top twenty hit singles include "Turn the Page", "Hollywood Seven", "Words are Not Enough", "Six Ribbons" and "Hot Town".


English was acclaimed for his starring role in the 1978 Australian TV series Against the Wind – he won the TV Week Logie Award for 'Best New Talent in Australia'. He also co-wrote and performed the score with Mario Millo (ex-Sebastian Hardie). The series had international release, known as Mot alla vindar (1980) in Swedish, where both "Six Ribbons" and "Against the Wind" were released as singles, both singles and the soundtrack album peaked at No.1 on the Norwegian charts; the first single, "Six Ribbons" and the album, peaked at No.4 on the Swedish charts.

From 1983 to 1985, English won four Mo Awards with three consecutive 'Entertainer of the Year' awards and a further 'Male Vocal Performer' in 1985. English has performed in Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore from 1984. Performances of Essgee Entertainment's productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan trilogy from 1994 to 1997 were broadcast on Australian TV, they were all released on VHS and subsequently on DVD.

Aside from performing, English wrote film and television scores/soundtracks and numerous songs. He co-wrote the ballet Phases with Roy Ritchie in 1974. In 1982, he wrote the song "Oh, Paris" about the mythic hero Paris, Prince of Troy to see if people would listen closely enough to realize that it was not about the French capital. His discussions with producer/composer David Mackay on Trojan War mythology led to the 1990 2CD release of Paris: A Love Story as a soundtrack recorded in London during 1989–90. The cast for the recording included: Australian actor Terence Donovan, the Angels singer Doc Neeson, John Waters, Philip Quast, Demis Roussos, David Atkins and Barry Humphries, backed by the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir. It sold 50,000 copies and won the 1991 ARIA Award for 'Best Original Soundtrack / Cast / Show Recording' for English and Mackay. The musical Paris was first performed in 2003 in Sydney and Gosford, New South Wales, with English assisting in the direction of the production and appearing as the Fisherman in one performance at Gosford. The piece was revived in Melbourne in 2004 and in Adelaide in 2008. Also in 2008, a re-worked version was performed in Sydney, with English as Menelaus. This revised production was met with generally positive reviews, but a few months later, English and Mackay completely updated the show.

In 2004, English appeared as Sergeant Wilson in stage productions of Dad's Army touring through Australia and New Zealand. In 2007, after his marriage to Carmen Sora had ended, English moved to a farm near Bellingen with his domestic partner Coralea Cameron. In 2009 he toured in a new production titled "The Rock Show", a revue featuring classic rock music of the '60s and '70s, including songs by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Deep Purple, Elton John and other high profile musicians of those decades. It was conceived by "Paris" collaborator and director Stuart Smith with musical director Isaac Hayward. In 2010 "The Rock Show" made two appearances in Tasmania in support of the "Save the Tasmanian Devil" breeding programme. English was an ambassador for the programme. The same year, English played the title role in The Removalists by David Williamson at the Perth Theatre Company.

In 2012 English returned to Tasmania, working with Encore Theatre, for a revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, with English in the role of Pilate. Funds raised at each performance and at the Launceston preview were donated to the programme. In 2013 Jon English played at the Sweden Rock Festival, backed up by Swedish hard rock band Spearfish.

In late February 2016, English was hospitalised due to "unexpected health problems" and he was forced to cancel several scheduled performances due to planned surgery for an aortic aneurysm. He died following post-operative complications late in the evening of 9 March 2016.

https://youtu.be/y25jmJrK3wQ





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