bit late on this due to limited time online recently but sad to hear one of Britain’s blues greats Long John Baldry died last week.
Born John William Baldry, he passed away at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada.
Baldry – whose only UK number one came in 1967 with Let The Heartaches Begin – was a friend of Paul McCartney and inspired Eric Clapton to play guitar.
He also performed with Rod Stewart and Elton John before a Grammy nomination in 1998 for narration work with Disney.
Baldry – who leaves behind siblings Margaret and Roger, as well as long-time friend and partner Felix “Oz” Rexach – started his career playing folk and jazz in the 1950s.
He became one of the founding fathers of British Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1960s and appeared at The Cavern in Liverpool, becoming friends with McCartney.
Baldry was invited to perform on the Beatles’ internationally televised special “Around the Beatles” in 1964, along with P J Proby and Cilla Black.
He performed with influential British bands Blues Incorporated, and Cyril Davies’ R&B All Stars in the 60s.
Later, he fronted the Hoochie Coochie Men, which included Rod Stewart, who later joined Baldry in Steam Packet, also featuring keyboardist Brian Auger and singer Julie Driscoll.
After a brief period with Bluesology, which featured Elton John on keyboards, Baldry went solo.
With production assistance from Rod Stewart and Elton John, he recorded the album, It Ain’t Easy, for Warner Bros. featuring his signature song “Don’t try to Lay no Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock n’ Roll.”
After emigrating to Canada in the early 1980s, he recorded for EMI Music Canada, and since 1991 recorded five albums for Stony Plain Records in Edmonton, Alberta.
The label is set to re-release Baldry’s Warner Bros. albums, It Ain’t Easy and Everything Stops for Tea, in the autumn.
Since the early 1990s,he was also known in Canada for his extensive voice work in commercials.
He also narrated on Winnie The Pooh recordings for Disney and was the voice for Robotnik on the popular Sonic The Hedgehog computer game.