John William "Long John" Baldry (12 January 1941 – 21 July 2005) was an English-Canadian 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 number two in 1980. Baldry lived in Canada from the late 1970s until his death; there he continued to make records and do voiceover work. Two of his best known roles in voice acting were as Dr. Robotnik in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and as KOMPLEX in Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars.
|Long John Baldry|
Baldry in 1972
|Birth name||John William Baldry|
|Born||12 January 1941
East Haddon, Northamptonshire, England
|Died||21 July 2005 (aged 64)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Genres||Blues, blues rock, folk rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer – Voice actor|
|Associated acts||Blues Incorporated,
R&B All Stars, Hoochie Coochie Men, Steampacket, Bluesology, Elton John, Rod Stewart
Baldry's birth was registered in Brixworth Registration District in Northamptonshire in the first quarter of 1941. He was born to William James Baldry (1915-1990), a metropolitan police constable and his wife, Margaret Louisa née Parker (1915-1989). His early life was spent in Edgware, Middlesex where he attended Camrose Primary School until the age of 11, after which he attended Downer Grammar School, now Canons High School. Just before his death, he attended the school's 40th anniversary celebrations.
Baldry grew to 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), resulting in the nickname "Long John". He was one of the first British vocalists to sing blues in clubs. Baldry appeared quite regularly in the early 1960s in the Gyre & Gimble coffee lounge, around the corner from Charing Cross railway station, and at the Brownsville R. & B. Club, Manor House, London, also "Klooks Kleek" (Railway Hotel, West Hampstead). He appeared weekly for some years at Eel Pie Island on the Thames at Twickenham and also appeared at the Station Hotel in Richmond, one of the Rolling Stones' earliest venues.
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. When The Rolling Stones made their debut at the Marquee Club in July 1962, Baldry put together a group to support them. Later, Baldry was the announcer introducing the Stones on their US-only live album, Got Live If You Want It!, in 1966.
Baldry became friendly with Paul McCartney after a show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in the early 1960s, leading to an invitation to sing on one of The Beatles 1964 TV specials, Around The Beatles. In the special, Baldry performs "Got My Mojo Workin'" and a medley of songs with members of The Vernons Girls trio; in the latter, the Beatles are shown singing along in the audience.
In 1963, Baldry joined the Cyril Davies R&B All Stars with Nicky Hopkins playing piano. He took over in 1964 after the death of Cyril Davies, and the group became Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Rod Stewart on vocals and Geoff Bradford on guitar. Stewart was recruited when Baldry heard him busking a Muddy Waters song at Twickenham Station after Stewart had been to a Baldry gig at Eel Pie Island. Long John Baldry became a regular fixture on Sunday nights at Eel Pie Island from then onwards, fronting a series of bands.
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, when he began to record as a solo artist, adopted the name Elton John, his first name from Dean and his surname from Baldry.
Following the departure of Elton John and Bluesology, Baldry was left without a backup band. Attending a show in the Mecca at Shaftesbury Avenue, he saw a five piece harmony group called Chimera from Plymouth, Devon, who had recently turned professional. He approached them after their set and said how impressed he was by their vocal harmonies and that they would be ideal to back him on the cabaret circuit he was currently embarked on. This they did.
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.
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 chart. 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. Baldry's first tour of the US was at 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.
Baldry had mental health problems and was institutionalised for a brief time in 1975. The 1979 album Baldry's Out was recorded after his release.
Baldry performed at Zolly's Forum; a nightclub in Oshawa, underneath the Oshawa Shopping Centre. This was shortly after releasing Baldry's Out.
In a 1997 interview with a German television program, Baldry claimed to be the last person to see singer Marc Bolan before Bolan's death on 16 September 1977, having conducted an interview with the fellow singer for an American production company, he says, just before Bolan drove away and had his accident.
After time in New York City and Los Angeles in 1978, Baldry settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he became a Canadian citizen. He toured the west coast, as well as the US 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.
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. Two years previously the two had a 10-venue sell-out tour of Canada. In 2003 Baldry headlined the British Legends of Rhythm and Blues UK tour, alongside Zoot Money, Ray Dorset and Paul Williams. Baldry's final UK Tour as 'The Long John Baldry Trio' concluded with a performance on Saturday 13 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.
Baldry was openly gay during the early 1960s, at least amongst his friends and industry peers. However, he did not make a formal public acknowledgement of this until the 1970s—possibly because until 1967 in Britain, male homosexuality was still a criminal offence that could lead to forced medication and/or jail time.
In 1968, Elton John tried to commit suicide after relationship problems with a woman, Linda Woodrow. Bernie Taupin, the lyricist, and Baldry found him and Baldry talked him out of marrying her, 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.
Baldry had a brief relationship with lead-guitarist of The Kinks, Dave Davies, and supported Elton John in coming to terms with his own sexuality. In 1978 his then-upcoming album Baldry's Out announced his formal coming out, and he addressed sexuality problems with a cover of Canadian songwriter Bill Amesbury's "A Thrill's a Thrill"..
|1964||Long John's Blues||United Artists||ULP 1081|
|1966||Looking at Long John||United Artists||ULP 1146|
|1968||Let the Heartaches Begin||Pye Records||NPL 18208|
|1968||Let There Be Long John||Pye Records||Unreleased|
|1969||Wait For Me||Pye Records||NSPL 18366|
|1971||It Ain't Easy||Warner Bros.||WS 1921|
|1972||Everything Stops for Tea||Warner Bros.||WB 46 160|
|1973||Good To Be Alive||GM Records||GML 1005|
|1976||Welcome To Club Casablanca||Casablanca Records||NBLP 7035-V|
|1979||Baldry's Out!||EMI Capitol||ST 6459|
|1980||Boys In The Band||Quality Records||SV 2068|
|1980||Long John Baldry||EMI Capitol||SW 17038|
|1982||Rock With The Best||EMI Capitol||ST 6490|
|1982||The Best Of Long John Baldry||EMI Capitol||SN 66124|
|1986||Silent Treatment||Musicline Records||ML 000l|
|1986||Long John Baldry & Friends||Musicline Records||ML 0002|
|1987||Live In Toronto||Musicline Records||Unreleased|
|1989||A Touch of the Blues||Musicline Records||ML 0005|
|1991||It Still Ain't Easy||Stony Plain Records / Hypertension-Music||SPCD 1163 / HYCD 200 122|
|1993||On Stage Tonight - Baldry's Out!||Stony Plain Records / Hypertension-Music||SPCD 1192 / HYCD 200 135|
|1995||A Thrill's A Thrill: The Canadian Years||EMI||S22Z 29609|
|1996||Right To Sing The Blues||Stony Plain Records / Hypertension-Music||SPCD 1232 / HYCD 296 167|
|1998||Let The Heartaches Begin: The Pye Anthology||Sequel Records||42298|
|1999||Evening Conversation||Stony Plain Records / Hypertension-Music||SPCD 1268 / HYP 0191|
|2001||Remembering Leadbelly||Stony Plain Records||SPCD 1275|
|2004||Baldry's Back||Stony Plain Records||Unreleased|
|2005||Boogie Woogie: The Warner Bros. Recordings||Rhino Handmade||RHM2 7896|
|2006||Looking At Long John Baldry: The UA Years 1964-1966||EMI||0946 3 5o899|
|2009||Live - Iowa State University 1987||Angel Air Records||SJPCD310|
|2014||The Best Of The Stony Plain Years||Stony Plain Records||SPCD 1376|
|1964||You'll Be Mine||Up Above My Head||United Artists||UP 1056|
|1964||I'm On To You Baby||Goodbye Baby||United Artists||UP 1078|
|1965||How Long Will It Last?||House Next Door||United Artists||UP 1107|
|1966||Unseen Hands||Turn On Your Love Light||United Artists||UP 1124|
|1966||The Drifter||Only A Fool Breaks His Own Heart||United Artists||UP 1136|
|1966||Cuckoo||Bring My Baby Back To Me||United Artists||UP 1158|
|1967||Only A Fool Breaks His Own Heart||Let Him Go (And Let Me Love You)||United Artists||UP 1204|
|1967||Let The Heartaches Begin||Annabella||Pye Records||7N 17385|
|1967||Let The Heartaches Begin||Hey Lord You Made The Night Too Long||Pye Records||7N 17408|
|1968||Hold Back The Daybreak||Since I Lost You Baby||Pye Records||7N 17455|
|1968||When The Sun Comes Shining Thru||Wise To The Ways Of The World||Pye Records||7N 17593|
|1968||Mexico||We're Together||Pye Records||7N 17563|
|1969||It's Too Late Now||The Long And Lonely Nights||Pye Records||7N 17664|
|1969||Wait For Me||Don't Pity Me||Pye Records||7N 17815|
|1970||Well I Did||Setting Fire To The Tail Of A Fox||Pye Records||7N 17921|
|1970||When The War Is Over||Where Are My Eyes?||Pye Records||7N 45007|
|1971||Rock Me When He's Gone||Flying||Warner Bros.||K 16105|
|1971||Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll||Black Girl||Warner Bros.||GS 45105|
|1971||Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll||Mr. Rubin||Warner Bros.||WB.16099|
|1972||Iko Iko||Mother Ain't Dead||Warner Bros.||K 16175|
|1972||Everything Stops For Tea||Hambone||Warner Bros.||K 16217|
|1972||Mother Ain't Dead||You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover||Warner Bros.||WB 7617|
|1973||She||Song For Martin Luther King||GM Records||GMS 9005|
|1974||Crazy Lady||End Of Another Day||ABC Records||ABC 4016|
|1975||Let Me Pass||High and Low||Casablanca Records||Casablanca 600|
|1976||This Boys In Love Again||Song For Martin Luther King||GM Records||GMS 9043|
|1977||On Broadway||On Broadway (instrumental)||GM Records||GMS 9045|
|1977||Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll||Tell Me Something I Don't Know||Atlantic Records||CATX 40011|
|1979||You've Lost That Loving Feeling||Baldry's Out||EMI Capitol||006-86113|
|1979||A Thrill's A Thrill||Baldry's Out||EMI Capitol||EA 103|
|1979||A Thrill's A Thrill||Find You||EMI Capitol||1A 006-860571979|
|1979||Come And Get Your Love||Lonely Nights||EMI Capitol||72808 1979|
|1980||(Walk Me Out In The) Morning Dew||I Want You, I Love You||EMI Capitol||006-86329|
|1980||Any Day Now||Work For Me||EMI Capitol||72841|
|1981||Too Late For Crying||25 Years Of Pain||EMI Capitol||72874|
|1982||Stay The Way You Are||Midnight Show||EMI Capitol||72878|
|1985||The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore||Mystery To Me||Line Records||LS 1.00005|
|1986||Silent Treatment||Our Love Is In Limbo||Musicline Records||MLS 002|
|1986||The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore||Carnival||Musicline Records||MLS 003|
|1986||Ain't That Peculiar||Spoonful||Musicline Records||MLS 004|
|1987||This Is Japan||When The World Doesn't Love You||Musicline Records||MLS 005|
|1987||Silent Treatment||A Life Of Blues||Pläne Records||B-4791|
|1992||Midnight In New Orleans||Hypertension Music||HYCDS 100 103||Features three exclusive live tracks from 1992|
|1995||...Some Thrills||EMI||DRPO 1132||5 track promo with a previously unreleased version of 'Passing Glanes'|
|1965||Long John's Blues||Dimples / Hoochie Coochie Man / My Baby / Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough||United Artists||UEP 1013|
|1967||Cuckoo||Cuckoo / You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' / Stop Her On Sight (SOS) / Bring My Baby Back To Me||United Artists||UEP 36.108|
|1959||Gallows Pole||Demo recording|
|1965||Mister Someone||From the ITV television play The End of Arthur's Marriage|
|1981||Ken's Theme||Recorded for the documentary film The Devil at My Heels|
|1987||The Luckiest Man Alive||Self-penned opening song to the comedy Home Is Where The Hart Is|
Appearances On Other Albums