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The Rock-itt : October 2011
But as we know, sometimes stardom can have an enormous price tag attached to it. With Johnny touring and being away for long periods at a time, his marriage to wife, Marianne began to suffer. Also Johnny was having mental problems due to an almost fatal car accident which occurred when Johnny and a party of his entourage were returning from Queensland. Just outside the township of Kempsey, NSW Johnny fell asleep at the wheel of his car and ran into a gravel truck. Johnny’s face was badly injured when it hit the steering wheel and he was thrown from the vehicle. Apart from a host of injuries to his face and body, JOK also fractured his skull which is believed to have had a dramatic effect on his brain. In 1966 Johnny and Marianne divorced. Despite Johnny trying to throw himself back into his work, he was continuously on the brink of a nervous breakdown and was in and out of psychiatric clinics being treated for nervous disorders. Then in the early sixties a change began which started to turn the music world as it was known then on its ear. The slicked backed hair, jeans and leather jackets and the sound of music took an incredible turn which ushered in a new breed of rock, and with it came what was known as The Mersey Sound heralding the way for “The British Invasion”, which we will certainly be looking at a little further down the track. Here last month we spoke about the King of Aussie Rock himself, Johnny O’Keefe (JOK) and the massive impact that he had on the rock music industry by pioneering the way for countless Aussie rockers who have since come through in his wake. But first we have to finish JOK’s story before moving on to other Australian rock performers who have em erged since JOK. Taking up where we left off last month we know that Johnny was leading the way in Australian rock and doing everything possible to put this country on the Rock & Roll map. His song writing was a mix of rambunctious words and lyrics that would have his audience dancing and jiving in the aisles, yet he could pen soft tender love songs full of depth and meaning. After meeting his mentor and the creator of Rock & Roll, Bill Hayley when he came down under to tour Australia, things began to take off as Hayley could see the potential in JOK. Hayley began dropping his name around some extremely influential people in the industry. Soon Johnny was supporting overseas acts such as Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Paul Anka, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Fabian, Tab Hunter, Jimmy Rodgers and teenage heart throb, Ricky Nelson.Now Johnny O’Keefe was in high demand and super stardom was at his feet. Help us to keep The Rock-itt magazine out there by advertising in our pages. The cost is very affordable and the results are impressive. Call Pete on: Ph: 9975 1105 or 0438751101 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s keep ROCKIN’ around the Beaches This new sound and fashion absolutely devastated the genre of fifties and early sixties. Music and musicians of the era at that time were soon very m uch out. The sound and look which the young British bands introduced soon took over making all other obsolete and unfashionable. It must have been a tragic time for JOK after his long struggle to get to the top. Suddenly he was no longer considered popular and like most others in the music scene, their world cam e crashing down as fans deserted them in droves for the new incoming pop icons.