Saturday, 30 September 2017 21:35

TV, stage and record producer, Jack Good, dies aged 86

Written by Geoff Leonard
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Jack Good with The Beatles
Jack Good with The Beatles

It is with sadness that we have to report the passing of the TV, stage and record producer, Jack Good, aged 86.

Jack had an enormous influence on British popular music in the late 50s and early 60s, particularly on TV, and it was in the latter category that he first encountered John Barry.

Jack had launched Six-Five Special on an unsuspecting but grateful nation in February 1957. Within a few weeks it became a hugely successful show and as such it was no surprise that it came to the notice of John Barry.

Barry, who had made a demo recording in London as singer/leader of his group, The John Barry Seven, sent a copy to Jack and asked for an audition. Having first decided against it because of the presence of Don Lang & his Frantic Five on the show, Jack changed his mind a few weeks later and hired the band for several appearances.

Adam Faith was another protégé of Jack's, and when he launched an ultimately short-lived stage show of Six-Five Special, he hired both Faith and The John Barry Seven -- a meeting that would have greater significance the following year.

After leaving the TV show in early 1958 following a disagreement with the BBC over its policy, Jack hired the band again for Oh Boy!, his new show for commercial television.

They appeared on ten occasions and apparently would have appeared more often, were it not for the limitations of the stage at The Hackney Empire from where the show was broadcast. Jack's idea was for the JB7 to appear on stage permanently, along with house band Lord Rockingham's XI, so he could switch seamlessly from band to band, depending on the singer, without interruption to the music, but the stage wasn't big enough.

The JB7 and Faith moved on to BBC's Drumbeat series in April 1959, just before Oh Boy! finished its first series. A planned second series did not materialise but Jack produced further shows for commercial TV in Boy Meets Girls & Wham!. He attempted to hire The JB7 once again, for Wham!, but could not come to terms with their agent, Eve Taylor.

Just a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of a "found" episode of Oh Boy! Jack Good wasn't there -- to nobody's surprise -- since he has seldom appeared in public since ending his TV career several years ago. However, despite his old age and occasional bouts of ill-health it still came as a shock to learn of his death following a fall.

The DJ and presenter, Pete Murray, did attend the Oh Boy! screening, and he described Jack as the best ever producer of TV pop music shows. Pete didn't work with Jack on Oh Boy! but he certainly did on many episodes of Six-Five Special, and it's hard to argue with his opinion.

I have only seen three episodes of Oh Boy! but that's enough to appreciate Jack's genius of capturing pop music as it was in that era. Many other TV pop shows have followed but none have matched the sheer excitement of singers and groups playing "live" on Oh Boy!, with the innovative camera work and lighting helping to create 25 minutes of non-stop action.

Jack had a brief stint for US TV, producing Shindig!, and also played minor roles in a few films, before returning to the UK and producing stage musicals, such as Oh Boy!, Elvis the Musical and Catch My Soul (loosely based on Othello), with varying degrees of success.

In later years he appeared to lose interest in TV and after becoming a Roman Catholic, lived something of a reclusive life in New Mexico where he also painted.

More recently he returned to the UK and lived on his son's farm in Oxfordshire. He died at home on Sunday night, 24th September 2017. RIP Jack, and thanks for the memories.

Read 2511 times Last modified on Saturday, 30 September 2017 21:44

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