classic and rare Australian popular music from the 1950's, 1960's. 1970's and beyond..including rock and roll, pop, beat, rock, surf and progressive, plus contemporary artists, new releases, reviews and other fun stuff

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Johnny O'Keefe...The Birth of Australian Rock'n'Roll..compilation anthology



3CD compilation/anthology from "The King" of Australian Rock'n'Roll, Johnny O'Keefe. Total of 75 tracks, The Hits, The Ballads and The Rarities. Includes full versions of "Shout". "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" and previously unreleased version of "She's My Baby".

Johnny O'Keefe's career began in the 1950s. Some of his hits included "Wild One" (1958), "Shout!" and "She's My Baby". In his twenty-year career, O'Keefe released over 50 singles, 50 EP's and 100 albums.

Often referred to by his initials, "J.O.K." or by his nickname, "The Wild One", O'Keefe was the first Australian rock'n'roll performer to tour the United States, and the first Australian artist to make the local Top 40 charts, and he remains Australia's most successful chart performer, with twenty-nine Top 40 hits to his credit in Australia between 1959 and 1974.

O'Keefe was born in the eastern Sydney suburb of Bondi Junction on 19 January 1935. Johnny had a solid musical background and listened to the radio almost constantly at home although he did not often sing around the house. His parents were both good singers, his mother was an excellent pianist and his father occasionally played in a jazz band.

The first turning point in O'Keefe's career was in early 1953, when he began singing with the quintet of jazz accordionist Gus Merzi at charity dances. During these appearances, O'Keefe would sing his specialty, Johnny Ray's "Cry", while wearing a pair of trick glasses which would squirt water over the audience.

Johnny O'Keefe's life changed irrevocably after seeing and hearing Bill Haley singing "Rock Around the Clock" in the film Blackboard Jungle in June 1955. He realised immediately that this was the style of music he wanted to perform, and from this point on he dedicated himself single-mindedly to becoming a rock 'n' roll singer and a star.

Although he was perhaps an unlikely candidate for stardom, he pursued it relentlessly for the next two decades and it is a tribute to his tenacity that, in large measure, his dream was achieved: by 1960 he had become the most popular and successful singer in Australia and a major TV star. Australian rock historian Ian McFarlane succinctly described O'Keefe's qualities in his article on the singer in the Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop:
"J.O'K was the first to admit that he was a limited singer, but he possessed an incredible drive, a fierce ambition to succeed, a tireless facility for self-promotion, a tremendous flair for showmanship and a larrikin spirit that was irrepressible."

read the full JO'K story on Wikipedia here








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