John Michael O'Keefe 19 January — 6 October was an Australian rock and roll singer whose career began in the s. Some of his hits include " Wild One "" Shout! In his twenty-year career, O'Keefe released over fifty singles, 50 EPs and albums. O'Keefe was also a radio and television entertainer and presenter . Often referred to by his initials "J. He had twenty-nine Top 40 hits in Australia between and He was raised as a Catholic and attended the local Catholic primary school, followed by secondary schooling at Waverley College in nearby Waverley.
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 mother was an excellent pianist  and his father occasionally played in a jazz band.
O'Keefe made his stage debut at the age of four when he played the role of 'Dopey' in the Waverley College Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - Paul McCartney - Out There Budokan 2015 of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
The young O'Keefe was intelligent and perceptive, with a great sense of humour, although his school grades fluctuated due to his misbehaviour and the fact that he was easily distracted; Sydney radio personality Gary O'Callaghan who was a classmate, later recalled that O'Keefe was often in trouble.
He was also a keen swimmer, surfer and sailor and often sailed with the Vaucluse Juniors sailing club. He matriculated ingaining an 'A' in French and a 'B' in English, mathematics, physics and economics. He had already begun performing at dances and 'socials' while at high school, but his interest in music blossomed after he left school.
A strong early musical influence was the American singer Johnnie Raywho toured Australia to great acclaim in the s and O'Keefe began his singing career as a Ray impersonator. During this period he met and became good friends with Alan Dale Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late an aspiring singer, who was then employed at the O'Keefe's furniture business.
Johnny was stationed at Richmond approximately 50 kilometres 31 mi North-West of Sydney, and served his six-month period in two blocks, from December—February and December—February The first turning point in O'Keefe's career was in earlywhen 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.
Recognising Johnny's potential, Merzi began tutoring him on piano, encouraging him to broaden his repertoire and helping him to refine his stagecraft. O'Keefe became a regular Burn - The Sisters Of Mercy - Burn with the Merzi quintet and performed with them every Sunday at the charity shows they performed at the Bondi Auditorium.
The tenacious O'Keefe performed his routine no matter how small the audience, sometimes braving the rotten eggs and fruit thrown at him by local louts. After his second stint of National Service he began singing with Merzi two nights a week, playing at university college dances, 21st birthdays and private parties and Merzi also managed to get O'Keefe a regular spot on the 2UW live radio show Saturday Night Dancing.
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. By he had become the most popular and successful singer in Australia and a major TV star.
Machine Debaser - Fear Factory - Hatefiles left soon after the band formed and he was replaced by Indonesian-born guitarist Lou Casch.
This was the band that supported a tour by Little Richard and his band. Casch's contribution to O'Keefe's sound, both live and on record, was considerable.
He was born in Ambon ingrew up in Aceh and Jakartabegan playing guitar at an early age, and became a dedicated jazz musician. He was introduced to O'Keefe by Keith Williams, whom he had known from a jazz trio in which they played. At their first meeting O'Keefe played Casch a selection of rock'n'roll records and asked him to imitate the guitar playing, which he was easily able to do. Impressed, O'Keefe offered him the job and handed him a pile of records, saying "Here, learn these.
The dance is on Saturday night. Their first performance was at Stones Cabaret in the beach side suburb of Coogeeand by early they were playing four Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late a week and also performing on Saturdays in the interval between films at the Embassy Theatre, Manly. O'Keefe and the Dee Jays quickly attracted a strong local following, due in large measure to O'Keefe's magnetic personality and his dynamic stage performances.
O'Keefe's 'trademark' was his flamboyant stage attire, which included gold lame jackets and brightly coloured suits trimmed with fake fur. Many of these outfits were made for him by Sydney 'showbiz' costumier Len Tayloralthough one famous red suit trimmed with leopard-print velvet cuffs and lapels now in the collection of the Powerhouse MuseumSydney was reputedly made by his mother Thelma.
At the time Casch joined the band, they were promoting their own dances at local venues such as the Balmain Workingmen's Institute and Stone's Cabaret. The enterprising O'Keefe was involved in every aspect of the group's career including hiring the halls, placing ads in the local newspapers and putting up posters. At the time, rock 'n' roll and its followers in Sydney often found themselves at odds with non-aficionados.
According to Lou Casch, Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late one occasion, while O'Keefe and the Dee Jays Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late at an upstairs dance venue in Newtownan "Italian wedding" reception was also taking place downstairs. Some of the dance patrons came to blows with wedding guests in the men's toilets, and within minutes the fight had erupted into a full-scale riot that spilled out into the street, with police eventually calling in the Navy Shore Patrol to help restore order.
Taylor, however, failed to act on Haley's advice, so O'Keefe then famously took matters into his own hands and began telling the local press that he had in fact been signed to Festival. Anxious not to lose face, Taylor auditioned O'Keefe and signed him to the label.
By this time O'Keefe had become a close friend of the music concert promoter, Lee Gordonand their popularity really took off Aint Misbehavin - Jimmy Smith - Plays Fats Waller O'Keefe and the Dee Jays were installed as the featured support act for Gordon's famous "Big Show" concert bills at the Sydney Stadium.
These "Big Show" concerts were landmarks in Australian popular entertainment, being among the first tours to feature leading overseas rock'n'roll stars, including Little RichardBo DiddleyBuddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis ; Pure Silence - Faithful Darkness - In Shadows Lies Utopia also toured many top jazz acts of the day, including the Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late visits to Australia by black jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong.
When Gene Beautiful As The Moon Reprise - Henry Cow - Concerts and his band were stranded in Honolulu on their way to Australia, Gordon contacted O'Keefe and asked him to fill in for Vincent for the first night of the tour in Wollongong.
During this period The Dee Jays also acted as the backing band for many of the international acts that Gordon toured, since they were at the time the only rock'n'roll band in the country who could read music. Their skill and energy and O'Keefe's frantic performances also saw them upstage many of the visiting performers. Casch recalled that he actually played behind Jerry Lee Lewiswhose own backing musicians were so daunted by the Dee Jays' performance that they got too drunk to play.
This became his first hit in Marchpeaking at No. Although it was claimed that it was recorded live at Jim Daggerthuggert - Malk De Koijn - Å ÅÅ Mæio / Jim Daggerthuggert Stadium, it was in fact a studio recording, overdubbed with the sound of a real Stadium audience.
They had three children, but their relationship eventually concluded due to the pressure of O'Keefe's career demands and they were divorced in Miller organised a two-month tour. O'Keefe took the staid NZ music scene by storm, although he was banned from playing at some halls and faced problems getting airplay.
O'Keefe also toyed with the local press, playing on Lou Casch's exotic appearance by telling journalists that Casch was the son of an Arrernte Aboriginal chieftain from Ayers Rock Uluru and that Casch's hand-built guitar was made from mulga wood.
The event that cemented O'Keefe's status as Australia's top pop star came just after the NZ tour ended. Six O'Clock Rock premiered on 28 February and was originally hosted by Ricki Merrimanbut after six episodes O'Keefe took over as host, marking the beginning of the most successful phase of his career. No doubt assisted by his high profile, O'Keefe scored two more Top 20 hits in the first half of with the singles "What Do Ya Know?
The former independent label had been established by Lee Gordon, and was distributed by Festival. It had had some minor success but by Gordon was in financial trouble and he sold the label to Festival.
Boosted by his TV profile, O'Keefe's next two singles became two of the biggest and most enduring hits of his career. During one talent quest teenager Ray Hoff won the event with his version of the Ronnie Self single 'Bopalena.
Another night saw a crew cut disc jockey Bob Rogers handing out records while being filmed for a documentary. Leather jackets were banned in an effort to reduce fights mostly outside the premises, and if patrons were caught fighting within the club, the two police officers John and Reg on duty and in uniform, would force the culprits to don boxing gloves and get into a boxing ring downstairs.
Johnny Rebb wore a toupee and was escorted through the crowd to the bandstand accompanied by a bodyguard-manager. JOK was more at ease with tough wild kids. Price had collapsed on stage a few songs before he was due to finish his performance.
O'Keefe quickly jumped to the rescue as a semiconscious Price was being taken away leaving most of the audience Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late . JOK then performed Price's number one hit 'Personality' giving the audience some value for money and cementing his star status. Next morning a picture in the Sydney tabloid newspaper The Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late Telegraph showed O'Keefe accepting a piece of jewellery from the very appreciative Lloyd Price.
In February O'Keefe returned to the U. O'Keefe undertook a gruelling tour that visited 35 states, but he made little impact, although " She's My Baby " reputedly sold more thancopies in the US, and the flipside, "It's Too Late" briefly reached No.
About 20 kilometres north of Kempseythe Plymouth ploughed into a gravel truck. While the front of the large car bore the brunt of the very severe impact, all three were seriously injured.
O'Keefe's face was smashed and Johnny Greenan was thrown out of the car, landing six metres away on the highway, causing a fractured vertebra and loss of front teeth; Janice Greenan suffered a severe concussion. O'Keefe suffered multiple lacerations, a concussion and fractures to his head and face; he lost four teeth, and his hands were also badly lacerated.
O'Keefe was air-lifted back to Sydney for treatment, . He continued recording and scored another No. However many believe he never fully recovered from the accident and that it was the catalyst for his subsequent mental health problems.
By this time he was reaching Estudio N°11 En Mi Bemol Mayor - Debussy*, J.S. Bach*, Ravel*, Chopin*, Falla* - El Computador Virtu limits of his physical and mental endurance. He blacked out and woke three days later to find himself in a psychiatric hospital. As soon as he was released from close confinement he escaped, but by chance he was able to make contact with Lee Gordon, who happened to be in London at the time, and with Gordon's help and that of O'Keefe's wife and his parents he was transferred to St George's Hospital to recover, and he returned to Australia as soon as he was well enough to travel.
Unfortunately though this was to be first of many such "breakdowns" — O'Keefe would subsequently endure numerous spells in psychiatric hospital including Hydebray alcohol rehabilitation hospitaland his drug problems dogged him until the end of his life. His run of Australian hits continued in spite of his mounting personal problems. In August he suffered Johnny OKeefe - Shes My Baby / Its Too Late breakdown and spent two months in the Feťák Imro - Haf* & Beyuz - Blázon Čas ward at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney,  beginning what was to become a repeating cycle of much-publicised breakdowns, hospitalisation and recovery.
O'Keefe scored his fourth Australian No. It was around this time that O'Keefe finally parted ways with his backing group the Dee Jays, as he devoted more and more time to TV. Live performances began to taper off. The Dee Jays stayed together, however, and continued performing until By latehowever, a new music trend from the UK known as Merseybeat was gaining momentum. Although he had helped the careers of many of his rock'n'roll contemporaries, O'Keefe was resistant to the changes in pop music and made himself unpopular amongst the new groups by banning "long-haired" acts such as The Missing Links from appearing on Sing, Sing, Sing.
O'Keefe was alienated by the new developments in pop music, and later described this period as "the biggest downer in my career". Another major blow to O'Keefe was the sudden death of his partner and friend Lee Gordon, who died from a heart attack in London on 7 November However the follow-up single charted significantly lower, peaking at a modest No.
His popularity continued to decline and sales of his records fell. Sing, Sing, Sing was eventually cancelled in October It was produced and broadcast by the newly opened Channel TEN and filmed at various outdoor locations around Sydney, and O'Keefe released a 'spin-off' album also titled Where The Action Is during the year, but the series was not successful and budget problems and low ratings led to its cancellation in November From onwards O'Keefe devoted most of his time to performing on the burgeoning Australian club and cabaret circuit, and aside from the live LP Live on the Gold Coasthis only album releases were compilations of past hits, mostly issued on Festival's budget label Calendar.
Like A Child - Backstreet Boys - Backstreets Back, Third Movement: Nicht Schnell - Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Rhenish Manfred Overtur, Zaia copa - Les Djoubaps - Zaia Copa, Redrum - Vice Verset - Vice City, London Bells - Various - The Sounds Of London - A Celebration In Words & Music