FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Where can we pay our respects to Jon?

 

Jon's wish was to be cremated and his ashes to be scattered in his beloved North Wales. His son Mark chose the poignant and tranquil location of Harlech Castle which overlooks the town, the coast and, a place Jon had so many cherished childhood memories of - the railway station where he used to love to watch the steam trains.  Many thanks to Harlech Castle (Cadw) for their permission to scatter Jon's ashes in the moat.

Why did Jon Derek decide to semi-retire in 1991?

 

The main reason was due to the fact that around about this time, line-dancing was becoming very popular, however, it was dividing the scene in a dramatic way thus causing venues to either go one way or the other. Jon was not prepared to change his show at such a late stage in his career just to suit two different audiences. He therefore decided to call it a day as a full-time artiste and make himself available for selected 'traditional dance' venues only.

After the success of both 'Till The Rivers All Run Dry' and 'Makin' Believe', what happened to the other songs Jon recorded for Decca Records at the same time?

 

There were plans for an album to be released shortly after the single but Decca Records sold out to Polygram shortly after and the new label decided not to keep a 'Country' division. The 'Country' catalogue was sold, however, Jon obtained the rights to the five tracks that he had recorded for Decca at the time and later included them on an album that was released in 1984 entitled 'Goin' Back'.

Who are the backing singers on 'Till The Rivers All Run Dry' and 'Makin' Believe'?

 

Jon's good friend Clodagh Rodgers and her sister Lavinia.

How did Jon make it so big in Malta of all places?

 

It was mainly due to the BBC and its 'British Overseas' network programmes. Presenter, David Allan placed Jon's double A-side single 'Till The Rivers All Run Dry'/'Makin' Believe' top of his play list. A British Forces radio station in Valletta then picked up on the record and did the same. This was then followed by Vince Laus of Radio Malta who went on to promote the record together with plenty of coverage in the press - 'Malta News' / 'Times of Malta'.

Why were 'Country Fever' asked to appear on the RCA tour in 1969?

 

Country Fever were of course the only non-RCA recording artists to be included. Besides the fact of being the No.1 British Country Music band of the time, they were asked to back two of the US artists on the tour - Connie Smith and Nat Stuckey + they also had their own spot on the show.

Has Jon got any CD's available?

 

Jon was around at the time of vinyl and cassettes therefore everything he recorded throughout his career was released on those formats only.

Did Jon have a crush on any of the lovely women he worked with?

 

Yes he did! Olivia Newton-John was his ultimate favourite. He also liked Connie Smith - but then who didn't! Crystal Gayle was another, although he did comment, the last time he saw her, that her legs were too skinny!!

Who were Jon's Country Music influences and favourite singers?

 

The early music of Hank Williams really influenced Jon before turning his attention to George Jones and Buck Owens. He also liked Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Hank Locklin and Jim Reeves.

Who was Jon's favourite non-Country artist?

 

Without a doubt...Tommy Steele!

Jon was featured on many of the early 'Wembley Country Festivals' - did he appear at any of the latter ones?

 

Yes he did, in fact, he was at the majority of them throughout the 1970's and early to mid 1980's. If he wasn't billed to appear on the main Wembley stage then he could invariably be found presenting the 'Best of British Talent Show' which was held simultaneously next door in the Conference Centre. Furthermore, he was also often drafted back into the main arena to help the star names out on rhythm guitar and harmonies.  

Jon was managed by Don Arden in the early part of his career - the name is familiar, who was he?

 

Don Arden was a well-known manager and agent who managed acts such as the 'Small Faces' 'Nashville Teens' and 'The Move'. He was nicknamed 'The English Godfather', 'Mr Big' and the 'Al Capone of Pop' for various reasons! His daughter is Sharon Osbourne. Don Arden was responsible for securing the 'Decca Records' contract for Jon in 1966.

Dick Rowe produced one of Jamie, Jon & Jerry's singles in 1967. Why is he so well known?

 

Dick Rowe was the A&R man at Decca Records for many years and one of the most important producers and record executives in the 1950's & 1960's. He signed acts such as 'The Rolling Stones', 'The Moody Blues' and 'Tom Jones' but unfortunately he was also known as the man who turned down 'The Beatles'!

Did Jon write any of his own songs?

 

Yes, he was an accomplished songwriter. In fact, in 1976 an album was released entitled 'Songs I Have Written'. Furthermore, his own compositions were often released on the B-sides of his singles.

Is it true Jon starred in some movies?

 

Yes, but don't confuse him with the American actor John Derek. Our Jon Derek was on the books of Barbara Speaks Agency and did some 'bit parts' on movies with Charlton Heston, Betty Davis and Kim Novak among others.

Apparently Jon's Gibson J200 guitar was greatly admired by fellow artistes - anyone in particular?

 

Yes...when Jon was working with many of the top American artistes they did seem to like borrowing it! There are photos of such people as Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, Hank Locklin and Del Reeves all playing it.

Hank Locklin playing Jon's Gibson J200 guitar
Charley Pride playing Jon's Gibson J200 guitar
Bill Anderson playing Jon's Gibson J200 guitar