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Stars that died 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Johnny Parker British jazz pianist ("Bad Penny Blues") has died he was , 80,

Johnny Parker was a British jazz pianist has died he was , 80,

(6 November 1929 – 11 June 2010)

Parker was born in Beckenham, Kent.[1] In 1940, his family moved to Wiltshire where Parker was exposed to American Forces Network broadcasts, and first heard boogie-woogie piano at a US Air Force base. Parker returned to Beckenham after the Second World War and worked a paper round to be able to buy records from artists such as Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons.

While at Beckenham, Parker regularly cycled 10 miles (16 km) Bexleyheath to watch George Webb's Dixielanders perform. Around this time, he joined the Catford Rhythm Club and played at regular sessions. He became the resident pianist, performing at the club until 1948 when he was called up for National Service. He served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps as an ammunitions examiner, while accompanying jazz musicians such as Beryl Bryden and Mike Daniels.[2][1]

After his service, Parker enrolled at Regent Street Polytechnic, and – from 1950 to 1951 – played in Mick Mulligan's band. Later in 1951 he joined the band of Humphrey Lyttleton. He performed the opening piano riff to 1956's "Bad Penny Blues".[1] Parker's piano riff has been cited as similar to (and a possible influence on) Paul McCartney's piano playing in "Lady Madonna".[3][4]


He stayed with Lyttleton for six years, performing with Sidney Bechet and supporting Louis Armstrong and Eddie Condon.[1]

After a failed attempt to start his own band, Parker took a position inspecting components at an aircraft assembly plant.[1] He continued playing in jazz bands alongside artists such as Alexis Korner, Diz Disley, Cyril Davies, and Long John Baldry. He worked on-and-off in inspection until early 1969, when he joined Kenny Ball's Jazzmen. He performed with ball until 1978.[1]

Until his retirement in 2005, Parker led his own jazz bands around London and toured the Middle East.[1]

Later life and death

Parker retired in 2005, citing long-term health problems. He died on 11 June 2010.[1]

Personal life

Parker was married twice. He has four children – two (Rebecca and Robert) from his marriage to Maureen Wallis, and two (Abigail and Beverly) from his marriage to South African singer Peggy Phango. Phango, who was the first cousin of Miriam Makeba,[5] died in 1998.

Parker underwent a spinal operation in December 1969. He recovered within months and returned to regular touring.[1]


To see more of who died in 2010 click here

4 comments:

Robert Parker said...

That video clip of 'Bad Penny Blues' does not feature my father - Robert Parker. If you wish to see a clip of him then search "Johnny Parker pianist on youtube and there is footage of him recording a BBC show with Big Joe Turner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJaXOBYOXGE

Incidentally, my mother's maiden name was Wallis NOT Wallace.

Robert Parker said...

I would supply a correct picture - but don't know how to upload it.

Jett said...

You can email me an attachment of the photo and I can update the photo. Ken-merritt@msn.com

Brian said...

Johnny played every Sunday afternoon in The Wenlock Arms London N1, in the 90's and later. Great stuff always entertaining. His subtlety and tone could cut through the barroom chat and get you straight in the heart.
Irrascible to the end. his good friend and protege Holly still plays and works there occasionally. Several great pictures around still of the irrepressible Johnny.
he told me he wrote 'Bad Penny Blues' but it was Lyttleton's tape and HL claimed the royalties. he got nothing so he says. I told him Jack bruce of cream spoke well of him on the radio. He said 'sod the speaking well he could send me the back rent he stil owes me'.
he lived somehere on the Isle of dogs at the end.

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