John Otway and the Big Band
From the age of 9, John Otway knew he wanted to be a pop star but had to wait until 1977 and the rise of punk before his dream of fame and fortune would finally become a reality. Having caught the eye of the producers of the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test, Otway’s performance on that show would grab the attention of the watching audience. Otway, ever the showman, decided to jump on to the amplifier of his colleague during a performance of Bob Lind’s Cheryl’s Going Home. (Un)fortunately for Otway, he misjudged his leap and sent Wild Willy Barrett’s amplifier tumbling as he crashed down straddling the box under the amp.
Sales of Otway’s sixth single, the half-spoken love song Really Free increased dramatically and reached number 27 in the UK Singles Chart. An appearance on the BBC’s flagship music programme Top of the Pops, where Otway & Barrett were introduced by Elton John later, Otway was finally a star. It would however, be his greatest success for some time.
Despite numerous attempts to get back into the charts, Otway would have to wait 25 years for his next taste of chart success. In 2002, Otway achieved what he desired the most – a second hit. A concerted publicity campaign saw Otway reach number 9 with the disco pastiche Bunsen Burner and a second appearance on Top of the Pops.
To celebrate his 60th birthday in 2012, Otway produced his debut movie titled Otway the Movie: The Story of Rock n Roll’s Greatest Failure that was voted the 2nd best film of the year in a poll of its readers conducted by The Guardian newspaper.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Otway took his band to the Caribbean island of Montserrat to record a new album, Montserrat. The album would be the first to be recorded on the island by an international artist since The Rolling Stones recorded Steel Wheels in 1989. Produced by Grammy-award winner Chris Birkett and recorded at Olveston House – the former home of Sir George Martin, it was released to critical acclaim in May 2017.
Date of event:17th November 2019