An extremely personal account of the life of one of Australian’s loveable larrikin legends of rock.
Photo credit to Lynott88.
Jeff Apter returns with his latest biography—that of one of Australia’s great unsung (and tragic) rock heroes: Jonathan James English, better known as Jon English.
In his latest work, Jeff Apter has sung his praises, and identified his foibles and faults, with a passion and dexterity that rivals an Andrew Denton live interview.
We delve into his family’s decision to move to Australia and the arrival at the wellspring of ‘
Jon English was part of Australian music, theatre,
Over the following decades, he would make a Bob Segar (Turn the Page) classic his own. With intimate personal experience to back it up, he would write numerous hits—the clearly definitive ‘Six Ribbons’ at the fore—and compose a Rock Opera (ala Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar) which would be his driving passion for over 20 years. Called Paris, it was inspired by his passion for the story of Helen of Troy. Into the mix would be thrown numerous years working with Simon Gallagher, while overshadowing him on stage in Gilbert & Sullivan, several seasons of All Together Now, for which he would fight until his dying days to prove he was no imbecilic acidhead, and, towards the last days, celebrating his rock ‘n’ roll influences in Nationally touring shows.
The greatest attribute of Apter’s work is in the contributions he has drawn from the English Family, Jon’s colleagues and friends, who do not hold back in their ebullience, pride, and awe, their desperation to address his alcohol dependency, and, ultimately, their heartrending disbelief when he succumbed to alcohol-related injuries on the operating table and then as the world reported his death.
Jon’s colleagues, who watched helplessly and hopelessly as Jon’s demons and the drink consumed him, are equally honest. Apter has captured a lifetime of friendships, moments of great joy,
The wonder of all facets of Jon English—brother, husband, father, and friend—are captured in laughter-inducing moments and the breadth of his career in intimate detail. The devastation of his early departure and its impacts are transcribed with careful attention and respect.
Apter’s biography delivers a work that has emerged from the honest, genuine, and heartfelt support of English’s family and friends, making this a must-read for any fan of Jon’s work.
Reviewed by Glen Christie
Distributed by: Woodslane Books
Released: March 2021