TRIBUTES

 

Jon ‘always' led an extremely professional/well-rehearsed band. It would be almost impossible to claim there was/were any 'better' bands than 'his' band 'Country Fever'. As for his singing, there was, in my-opinion, no-one 'better', ever, in British Country Music.

 

JED FORD (Promoter / Musician)

Mark…Sorry to hear about your dad. It was a shock. Jon was a true pioneer of country music.  Back in 1966, me and my friend Dave Peacock discovered Jamie, Jon & Jerry playing the country venues in and around the Hammersmith area at that time - they were a class band.  I was also friends with Albert Lee and told him about Jon and the boys.  Albert became a regular sitter-inner with the band.  We all spent many a good night at those gigs.  It was a great era.  Jon was a great country singer.

 

CHAS HODGES (Chas & Dave)

Mark...I'm greatly saddened to hear of the passing of your father. I had always loved Country Music from my early days but it was a revelation to discover Jamie, Jon & Jerry playing in Hammersmith in 1966. Here was someone doing what I wanted to do.  As you know, we put together Country Fever in 1968 and had a great time backing many visiting US artists. That experience really encouraged me to get to the US as soon as I could. Jon and I had a great friendship and I think the music speaks for itself. His talent certainly stood out - he was the real deal.

 

I would also like to say a special word about your mother, I remember her fondly. She was such a beautiful person in so many ways.

 

ALBERT LEE (Musician)

To all the family with much love.  My thoughts, prayers and warm memories of Jon.  We will meet again.

 

GEORGE HAMILTON IV (US Country Artist)

There are very few British country performers who deserve the accolade "icon" but Jon certainly does. No mean guitarist, it was his sensitive, expressive voice and his interpretation of a lyric that marked him out as someone very special. Jon was a real professional, a one off. 

 

DAVID ALLAN (Broadcaster / Journalist)

Mark...Happy memories with your dad who was a wonderful act and has been rightly inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame.

 

JIMMY CRICKET (Comedian)

So sad to hear about Jon’s passing, he was the first real "Icon" of British country music and an extremely talented pro. Dad and I worked together so many times from the early 70's - he was a true gentleman.

 

VIC WOODHOUSE (Promoter / Musician)

Just read the headline, wow what a terrible shame. I worked with Jon when he was in his prime and when he was on form not many could touch him. An extremely talented performer indeed. A master of his trade. God bless you Jon. I send my love to his family and I'm sure they're proud of what Jon achieved.

 

MERVYN FUTTER (Musician)

Country Music has never been a dominant force in the British entertainment scene and achievement recognition for home-grown artists, even less so.  There has only been a handful to have scored any sort of acknowledgement outside of the genre but Jon Derek certainly ranks among those elite few.  In fact, he stands head and shoulders above the majority enjoying success as a singer, musician, songwriter and innovator.

 

TONY BYWORTH (Writer / Journalist / Publicist)

Mark...I’m so sorry to hear the news about your dad. He was the best Britain ever produced. I looked up to him and really admired him. May he rest in peace.

 

FRANK JENNINGS (Musician)

Mark...I have some great memories working with Jon when I had 'The Wild Bunch' on the road. He was the star we all looked up to. Mark, you have put together a really great website for which I personally thank you for. Beautiful memories...Rusty.

 

RUSTY DOUCH (Musician)

Jon was one of the icons of British country music and in his heyday along with his band Country Fever was at the top of his profession. Although he had retired – as a special favour Jon came over to Sunny Hunny (Hunstanton) in 2006 and did a guest spot for me and he brought the house down! He was absolutely fantastic – always a true professional – and he had such a superb distinctive voice – he was a thoroughly lovely man. Sleep tight Jon.

 

DIANE RICHARDS (Promoter)

I was saddened to read about my pal Jon even though we lost touch over the years. Having spent some years on the road with Jon in the mid-late 70's as a young musician playing bass, we shared a lot of good times and laughs travelling the length and breadth of Britain. He was without question one of the best vocalists in UK Country.

 

I feel the need to register my thanks to Jon for some great memories which include appearing at Wembley as a full band - meeting and talking with Albert Lee backstage when he was part of Emmylou Harris's band the same year - for being part of the tour in Malta when Jon had the successful release of his single - for being able to do the live BBC show from Golders Green hosted by David Allan which also featured Boxcar Willie - for travelling all over Britain - giving me a living - doing radio shows, festivals, airbases etc. etc. and having a great time as a young man. Oh, so many treasured memories. Condolences to family, friends and acquaintances - Rest in peace Jon.

 

CHRIS DUNN (Musician)

Mark...I am saddened to hear of your father's death. We appeared on many country music shows & festivals together over the years - I was always impressed by his professionalism. He never gave less than his best on stage and off stage always found the time to meet his many followers wherever he performed. He will be remembered for being at the forefront of British country music right from the start.

 

TERRY McKENNA (Musician)

Mark...I am so saddened to hear about your father Jon. I worked with him playing bass on and off throughout the seventies and early eighties. He was the best then and would still show the new "country singers" of today how it should be done.

 

The tours we used to do were very hard work with a lot of travelling, but we also had a lot of fun. They were great times together, I was lucky to have been there, loved the man and his singing talent. I only have good memories of my times with him.

 

STEVE HUGHES (Musician)

Mark...I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. I spent a good portion of my life on the road with your daddy. Please accept my deepest sympathies. Keep in touch buddy.
 
MARVIN RAINWATER (US Country Artist)

How sorry I was to hear of Jon's passing, a great loss to British country music. I was lucky to be part of Jon Derek's Country Fever when he spent a few years in Huddersfield and he was like a breath of fresh air with his outlook on life and the way he perfomed his music, it was second to none.

 

He taught me many things. Myself, Tony Howarth and Mark Jordon were Yorkshire's Country Fever and had the pleasure of recording Goin' Back with Jon at Look Records along with other fine musicians back in 1984 - it was a great experience and I'm proud to have known Jon and to have been part of his life for the time he spent in Golcar. 'As Far As I'm Concerned', you were the best.

 

STU PETERS (Musician)

Mark...So sad to hear the news.  I went to see your Dad a few times – nice man.  I thought his song ‘Hey Duke You Got True Grit’ was a super recording.  I played golf last year with the promoter of the Wembley Festivals, Mervyn Conn. He told me that the festivals ran for around 20 years and that Jon was the stalwart of the programme for most of these years. Once again, I am very, very sorry.

 

PAT POCOCK (Former Surrey & England Cricketer)

Country Fever turned me on to country music when I saw them at London's 'Nashville Rooms' in 1968. Jon was the perfect frontman & Albert's playing was breath-taking. In 1980 I was privileged to photograph them with Don Everly backstage at Wembley. The following year I was able to capture the magic moment when Jon was the centre of attention singing along with George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Marty Robbins etc. at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. They all clearly respected him. I really enjoyed Jon's company and was saddened to hear of your great loss Mark. Well done with this tribute website to a lovely man.

 

GRAHAM BARKER (Photographer)

Jon was a friend of mine. He was a big contributor to country music in the UK. A great loss to the music world. R.I.P.

 

ALAN HOPE (Leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party)

It's no exaggeration to say that Jon helped shape the sort of music I enjoy listening to. Jon always managed to recruit great musicians to his band. I remember Jon as a nice guy as well as a talented musician.  I hope the warmth and respect which people have for him helps in a small way with the sadness of his absence, now that he has gone to the great gig in the sky.
 
PETER SMITH (Ardent Fan)

Sorry is not the word, l'm so sad to hear about Jon. l loved him very much. Without him l would never have gone down the road of entertainment as far as l did without all he taught me and his friendship too. It was a nice journey l will always cherish.

 

JAMIE GUNN (Musician)

Jon was like the North Star - you could sail your vessel by him.  He was a good man to be on the river with. To say enough about Jon Derek would be too little.

 

EDDIE (TED) CLITHEROE (Long-time friend & Road Manager)

Mark...Jon fronted my band in the late 80's and did a splendid job as usual. He will be sadly missed.

 

KEVIN DUFFY (Musician)

It was a pleasure to be a part of Country Fever with Jon in the early 70's. Very sad to hear of his demise.

 

MALCOLM HAMERSTON (Musician)

Mark...So sorry to hear about your Dad. He was a friend of mine and playing steel guitar for him was one of the highlights of my life. He will be missed by many and British country music has lost an icon. Rest in peace Jon.

 

JOHN DAVIS (Musician)

Mark...So sorry to hear about your dad. I knew Jon and your mum in the early seventies. Your dad had real talent, a true performer.

 

LYNN McKEOWN (Ardent Fan)

We used to book Jon and Country Fever in the 70's and 80's in Wolverhampton. He was a brilliant performer and a great person.

 

JIM DUNCAN (Promoter)

Mark...I am dismayed to learn that your dad has passed away. I had a huge amount of respect for him every time I backed him. Country Fever were a top band and Jon was a front man par excellence. A lovely person, great singer and entertainer.

 

KEN BYNG (Musician)

Mark...I am so shocked to hear of your Dad's death. It was Jon who got me into country music back in the 60's. They were really good times and great music.

 

LEE WILLIAMS (Broadcaster / Former Promoter & Musician)

I can't say anything that hasn't been already said. We will all miss him.

 

SLIM PICKINS (Musician)

Mark...I was shocked and saddened yesterday to hear from Gerry Hogan of your father's death. The news tore a big hole in my side. Those few years we shared in the late 1950's and early 60's gave me some of the most magical moments in my life, and the memories of those times will never disappear. - I still vividly remember his 21st birthday celebration and the splendid tea your grandmother prepared, her beautiful soft Welsh accent and the house in which they all lived in Newbury where I was a frequent visitor.

 

ROGER GREGORY (Musician)

Jon Derek - A British hero. Rest in peace good friend and thanks for so many happy memories.

 

BRIAN AHERN (Journalist)

A sad loss to British country music.

 

STAN LAUNDON (Journalist)

Sorry to hear about Jon - he was a great mate and worked lots with 'West Virginia'. He will be sadly missed by us all in country music.

 

ARTHUR THORNHILL (Musician)

Sorry to hear about Jon Derek. I see he achieved a great deal. I intend to go through his back catalogue and learn more about him.

 

NEIL KEVEREN (Musician)

Mark...So very sorry to hear about Jon. Met him a few times and he got up with our band and sang some great songs, he was the nearest I've heard to my idol George Jones. He could still teach a few people today on the present country circuit and will be missed by all who knew him. RIP Jon

 

TONY COOK (Musician)

Mark...I came up playing alongside your Dad, Jamie Gunn and Gerry Hogan. Jon was not only a great performer but just a really nice bloke to be around. He gave me my first big break as a steel player and he also wrote the liner notes for my first band's album. He was simply 'The Best'.

 

RAY KEDGE (Musician)

Mark...As a fan of your dad's from the Pontin's days, I would like to
send my sincere condolences to you and your family. He was a brilliant musician and singer - my hero. He will be missed by his fans. RIP Jon Derek

 

LISA ROGERS (Ardent Fan)

Such sad news!! After several years working with a handful of UK pop-singers (Eden Kane, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, etc) I was approached to join a country music band in about 1965. My first reaction was one of horror! "I don't even like country music!" So he said, "Come with me to the Red Lion, Brentford this Sunday lunch-time and I promise you'll have a good time..." Well I did!  The great Jon Derek was fronting the band. I found that I loved all the material - I can still recall a huge part of Jon's enormous repertoire and his perfect and distinctive vocal style - and I fell in love with the music. - I saw Jon and the band many times after that - you couldn't keep me away!!  Thanks for all the great music, Jon Derek - you'll be missed and I know you won't be forgotten.

 

ROGER RETTIG (Musician)

A highly-talented person. Jon was a one-off and his passing is very premature.

 

GERRY HOGAN (Musician)