Long John Baldry: Wikis


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Long John Baldry

Background information
Birth name John William Baldry
Born 12 January 1941(1941-01-12)
East Haddon, Northamptonshire, England[1]
Died 21 July 2005 (aged 64)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Genres Blues, Blues-rock, Folk rock
Occupations Singer - Voice actor
Years active 1962 - 2005
Labels Warner
Associated acts Blues Incorporated,
R&B All Stars, Steampacket, Bluesology, Elton John, Rod Stewart
Website JohnBaldry.com

John "Long John" William Baldry (12 January 1941 – 21 July 2005) was an English blues singer and a voice actor. He sang with many British musicians, with Rod Stewart and Elton John appearing in bands led by Baldry in the 1960s. He enjoyed pop success in the UK where "Let the Heartaches Begin" reached No. 1 in 1967 and in Australia where his duet with Kathi McDonald "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" reached No. 2 in 1980. Baldry lived in Canada from the late 1970s until his death. There he continued to make records and do voiceover work. He was the voice of Dr. Robotnik in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.


Blues bands of the 1960s

Born John William Baldry in England, he grew to 2.01m (6ft 7in) that resulted in the nickname "Long" John. Gifted with a deep, rich voice, he was one of the first British vocalists to sing blues in clubs.[citation needed]

He sometimes appeared on Eel Pie Island, on the Thames at Twickenham and at the Station Hotel in Richmond, one of the Rolling Stones' earliest gigs.

In the early 1960s, he sang with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, with whom he recorded the first British blues album in 1962, R&B from the Marquee. At stages, Mick Jagger, Jack Bruce and Charlie Watts were members of this band while Keith Richards and Brian Jones played on stage, although none played on the R&B at the Marquee album.[2] The Rolling Stones supported Baldry in their first concert at the Marquee Club. Later, Baldry was the announcer introducing The Stones on their US-only live album, Got Live if You Want It!, in 1966.

Baldry became friends with Paul McCartney after a show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in the early 1960s, leading to an invitation to play on one of The Beatles 1964 TV specials.

In 1963, Baldry joined the Cyril Davies R&B All Stars with Jimmy Page on guitar and Nicky Hopkins playing piano. He took over in 1964 after the death of Cyril Davies. It became Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Rod Stewart on vocals and Geoff Bradford on guitar. Stewart was recruited after Baldry heard him busking a Muddy Waters song at Twickenham station after Stewart had been to a gig at Eel Pie Island.[3]

In 1965, the Hoochie Coochie Men became Steampacket with Baldry and Stewart as male vocalists, Julie Driscoll as the female vocalist and Brian Auger on Hammond organ. After Steampacket broke up in 1966, Baldry formed Bluesology featuring Reg Dwight on keyboards and Elton Dean, later of Soft Machine, as well as Caleb Quaye on guitar. Dwight adopted the name Elton John, his first name from Dean and his surname from Baldry.[4]

Baldry was openly gay during the early 1960s when homosexuality was still criminalised and medicalised. He later had a brief relationship with lead-guitarist of The Kinks, Dave Davies. [5][6] Baldry supported Elton John in coming to terms with his own sexuality.[5][7] In 1978 his album Baldry's Out announced his formal coming out, and he addressed sexuality issues on "A Thrill's a Thrill", a song on the L.P.[8]

Solo artist

In 1967, he recorded a pop song "Let the Heartaches Begin" that went to number one in Britain, followed by a 1968 top 20 hit titled "Mexico", which was the theme of the UK Olympic team that year. "Let the Heartaches Begin" made the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

Bluesology broke up in 1968, with Baldry continuing his solo career and Elton John forming a songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. In 1969, Elton John tried to commit suicide after relationship problems with a woman. Taupin, who is straight, and Baldry, who was openly gay,[9] found him, and Baldry talked him out of marrying the woman, helping make Elton John comfortable with his sexuality. The song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy was about the experience. [10]

In 1971, John and Stewart each produced one side of It Ain't Easy which became Baldry's most popular album and made the top 100 of the US album charts. The album featured "Don't Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll" which became his most successful song in the US. John's first tour of the US was this time. The band included, Micky Waller, Ian Armitt, Pete Sears, and Sammy Mitchell. Stewart and John would again co-produce his 1972 album Everything Stops For Tea which made the lower reaches of the US album charts. The same year, Baldry worked with ex-Procol Harum guitarist Dave Ball.[11]

Baldry had mental health problems and was institutionalised. The 1979 album Baldry's Out was recorded after his release. He played his last live show in Columbus, Ohio, on 19 July 2004, at Barristers Hall with guitarist Bobby Cameron. The show was produced by Andrew Myers. They played to a small group, some came from Texas.[citation needed] Two years previously the two had a 10-venue sell-out tour of Canada. Baldry's final UK Tour as 'The Long John Baldry Trio' concluded with a performance on Saturday 13th November 2004 at The King's Lynn Arts Centre, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. The trio consisted of LJB, Butch Coulter on harmonica and Dave Kelly on slide guitar. [1]


In 1985, he lent his voice to the show Ewoks. Since then Baldry's voice has appeared in many other animated series.

Canadian citizenship

After time in New York City and Los Angeles in 1978, Baldry settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he became Canadian. He toured the west coast, as well as the U.S. Northwest. Baldry also toured the Canadian east, including one 1985 show in Kingston, Ontario, where audience members repeatedly called for the title track from his 1979 album Baldry's Out! - to which he replied, "I'll say he is!"

In 1979, he teamed with Seattle singer Kathi McDonald to record a version of The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin", following which McDonald became part of his touring group for two decades. The song made the lower reaches of the US Billboard charts but was a top 5 hit in Australia in 1980. He last recorded with the Stony Plain label. His 1997 album Right To Sing The Blues won a Juno Award in the Blues Album of the Year category in the Juno Awards of 1997.


Baldry died on 21 July 2005, in Vancouver General Hospital, of a lung infection. He was survived by his partner, Felix "Oz" Rexach,[12] a brother, Roger and a sister, Margaret.[8]


Solo Albums

  • (1964) Long John's Blues
  • (1966) Looking at Long John
  • (1967) Let the Heartaches Begin
  • (1969) Wait for Me
  • (1971) It Ain't Easy
  • (1972) Everything Stops for Tea
  • (1973) Good to Be Alive (Baldry album)
  • (1976) Welcome to Club Casablanca
  • (1979) Baldry's Out!
  • (1980) Long John Baldry (album)
  • (1981) Boys In The Band
  • (1982) Rock with the Best
  • (1983) The Best of Long John Baldry (Features two previously unreleased songs 'Something You Got' and 'River's Invitation')
  • (1986) Silent Treatment
  • (1987) Long John Baldry & Friends
  • (1987) Live - Iowa State University (Released In 2009)
  • (1989) A Touch of The Blues (Features the 'Long John Baldry & Friends' album with the addition of three new studio recordings
  • (1991) It Still Ain't Easy
  • (1992) Midnight In New Orleans (Very rare German album that features Baldry singing 'As Long as I Feel The Spirit')
  • (1993) On Stage Tonight - Baldry's Out!
  • (1997) Right To Sing The Blues
  • (1999) Long John Baldry Trio Live
  • (2002) Remembering Leadbelly

Appearances On Other Albums

  • (1962) R&B From The Marquee (1964) (Baldry sings on tracks 2, 7, 11, 12, and 13)
  • (1964) The Steampacket: The First R&B Festival (Tracks 6 and 12 only)
  • (1965) Steampacket: The First Super Group
  • (1971) Every Picture Tells a Story (Track 2 only)
  • (1973) Mar y Sol: The First International Pop Festival (Sings 'Bring My Baby Back' this track is part of the additional material on the 2005 'Everything Stops For Tea' reissue)
  • (1975) Dick Deadeye: Soundtrack (Baldry provided the voice of The Monarch of The Sea and sings as the character on this album)
  • (1975) Sumar á Sýrlandi (Rare album of the Icelandic group 'Stuðmenn' that features Baldry singing 'She Broke My Heart')
  • (1996) Bone, Bottle, Brass or Steel (Track 2 only)
  • (1996) Born To Fly: Theatre In The Sky Performance (Baldry sings one track and helps narrate another)
  • (1997) Jimmy Witherspoon with The Duke Robillard Band (Track 7 only)
  • (1997) Stony Plain - Absolute Blues 2 (Compilation that features an unreleased version of 'Black Girl' sung with Kathi McDonald)
  • (1998) You Got The Bread... We Got The Jam (Tracks 2, 3, 6, 9, and 11)
  • (1999) Come Sing With Us - A Collection of Children's Folk Songs (Track 10 only)
  • (2000) Carlo Little Allstars - Never Stop Rockin' (Tracks 2 and 6 only)
  • (2001) The Best of Pooh and Tigger Too (Track 18 Only)
  • (2005) The British Blues All Stars: Live at Notodden Blues Festival (Tracks 6, 7, 11, and 12. These are Mr. Baldry's last recorded performances)
  • (2006) Saturday Night Blues: 20 Years (CBC; Baldry sings an acoustic version of "It Ain't Easy")


  1. ^ Conflicting evidence exists Baldry's birthplace. Earlier editions of this article stated that he was born in the village of Haddon. VH1's profile of Baldry states he was born in the village of East Maddon, while Allmusic.com states he was born in London. The documentary Long John Baldry: In the Shadow of the Blues states that his mother escaped London during The Blitz to give birth in Northampton, making East Haddon his most likely birthplace.
  2. ^ Heckstall-Smith, Dick and Grant, Pete. Blowing the Blues: Fifty Years Playing The British Blues. Clear Press, 2004, page 241. ISBN 1-904555-04-7. (R&B From The Marquee lineup)
  3. ^ "The Making of a Legend" by Rod Stewart at LongJohnBaldry.com, originally published in Reader's Digest, December 2004.
  4. ^ Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day: Elton John. Routledge UK, 2002, Page 214. ISBN 0-415-29161-5.
  5. ^ a b Originals, Long John Baldry, BBC, 2 May 2009, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0074tld 
  6. ^ Bluesundergroundnetwork.com
  7. ^ Themarqueeclub.net
  8. ^ a b Mark Kowalk, Pioneering gay blues musician Long John Baldry dies Xtra! West August 4, 2005; www.xtra.ca.
  9. ^ Burnett, Richard (2005-08-04), "Sugar bear", Ottawa Express, http://www.ottawaxpress.ca/columns/3dollarbill.aspx?iIDArticle=6778, retrieved 2007-08-22 .
  10. ^ "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" ~ AllMusic.com
  11. ^ Radio Azzurra
  12. ^ Rexach, a native of New York City, had been Baldry's partner for over twenty-five years. See Graham Rockingham, King of British blues: All hail Long John! New book on Baldry pays close attention to his years in Dundas. Hamilton Spectator, October 9, 2007; www.thespec.com. Review of Paul Myers, It Ain't Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues (Douglas & McIntyre).

External links

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