Thursday, February 9, 2017

John "King Size" Russell - Rhythm And Blues

John Russell died on 12th September 2010 unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage. The older generation should remember as the singer of the hits of the seventies duo Spooky & Sue (You talk too much, Would You Like to Swing on a Star and You got what it takes), the new generation will especially him especially recognize La Presie of the TV advertising of PTT.
John Russell - he had British grandparents - was born in 1943 in Paramaribo. In 1959 he was sent by his parents to the Netherlands to study. They wanted him to be a Pathologist. But the music drew him again, after he had won an Elvis talent contest in Suriname
In the Netherlands he was invited to perform in the children's circus Toni Boltini. Queen Juliana saw him there and gave him an acoustic guitar. Then he went touring in Germany, where he was accompanied at the Star Club in Hamburg by The Silver Beatles, the then-unknown group of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. In June 1964 Russell was in Blokker as suppot act of the only Dutch concert of the now famous Beatles.
He then came in contact with a band whose members included drummer Pierre van der Linden and guitarist Jan Akkerman later Focus and won a second prize in the Musicparade VARA TV.
Because of its length and girth (he would later weigh 200 pounds), he was nicknamed Big John Russell.
In the early seventies Russell came into contact with the British singer Sue Chaloner. Together they had a string of hits as a duo Spooky & Sue, although Russell during television appearances was replaced by the Aruban dancer Iwan Groeneveld.
After his break with Sue Chaloner Big John Russell scored ten hits (Never loved a woman the way I love you and Hokie Pokie) with which he had so much success in Germany, he received the Golden Pyramid in 1981 as "the best, the most expensive and the Top Selling Artist in Germany. He invested his money in nightclubs in Uithoorn (Tutti Frutti) and Amersfoort (Big John's Dance Palace) and a kebab shop (Jerusalem of Gold). But he was more successful as an artist than as a businessman. In 1985 he scored a hit with Party Time. He toured throughout Europe with Bill Haley, Middle of the Road, Mungo Jerry, Bonnie Tyler, The Tremeloes and The Rubettes. At the request of Princess Irene he made a record for her disco book Irene, mother or rebel, of which 400 thousand were sold. In his hometown Leusden he had his own 36-track recording studio.
He continued to give concerts. Usually he started his performance with Papa was a rolling stone, with the famous line "It was the 3th of September, that day we will always remember." At the funeral card made by his wife and four children there is another phrase of "It was the 12th of September, a day that they will always remember.
Peter de Waard (edited by xyros52)


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