John Howard grew up in, Lancashire, England, training as a classical pianist from the age of seven. John first performed his own material at a college charity concert in March 1970 and for the next three years he played at universities, folk clubs and Bolton’s Octagon Theatre where an early incarnation of Iron Maiden asked John to be their lead singer! He declined the invitation.
In 1973, while playing at London’s Troubadour he was spotted and signed by then Head of Pop at Chappell Music. By the end of the year, John signed to CBS Records and was commissioned to write and record the theme song, Casting Shadows, for the movie, Open Season.
John’s debut album, Kid In A Big World, produced by Tony Meehan and Paul Phillips, and featuring Rod Argent and Bob Henrit, was recorded at Abbey Road and Apple studios through 1974 and launched in February the following year with a concert John gave at The Purcell Room for radio, press and TV luminaries. Two singles from the album were released, Goodbye Suzie and Family Man. John’s album, Can You Hear Me OK? spawned the single, I Got My Lady.
John performed in fashionable London clubs such as April Ashley’s Knightsbridge AD8, Morton’s of Berkeley Square and Company, but this new stage in his career was brought to a sudden halt when he was involved in an accident in which he broke his back.
After a long period of recuperation John met Trevor Horn with whom, in the summer of 1977 he recorded his single, I Can Breathe Again, released in February 1978 on Ariola Records. The backing band comprised what would later become the nucleus of Buggles and The Art of Noise – Geoff Downes, Anne Dudley, Linda Jardim, Louis Jardim and Bruce Woolley. Over the next few years John made more singles with Trevor Horn, and with Steve Levine and Nicky Graham, and recorded several tracks with the late Chris Rainbow.
Through the 1980s and ’90s John carved out a career in marketing and A&R at various record companies, working with Elkie Brooks, Maria Friedman, Connie Francis, Hazell Dean, Sonia, Gary Glitter, The Crickets, Lonnie Donegan, Madness, Barry Manilow and Sir Tim Rice. He even found time to write the occasional song for other artists and in 1992 Des O’Connor recorded John’s Blue Days for his Portrait album which received a silver disc for 100,000 sales.
In 2001, after retiring to Pembrokeshire with his partner, actor Neil France, John began performing again, at local pubs and in the piano bars on the cruise ships. And then something amazing happened…Kid In A Big World was re-released, got five star reviews in the music press, reviving John’s recording career with new record deals, a career he still enjoys today.
In INCIDENTS CROWDED WITH LIFE there is reference to the track, ‘Goodbye Suzie’ which was John’s first single release in October 1974, and the lead-off track on his debut L.P. ‘Kid In A Big World’. Listen to it here…
For more music by John Howard click here.