They said they didn’t want to be a hero but, briefly, Johnny Hates Jazz were big business around the world. So what are they doing now?
by Christopher Smith
Old school friends Phil Thornalley and Mike Nocito, together with singer Clark Datchler and keyboard player/drummer Calvin Hayes – they formed the group Johnny Hates Jazz in 1982 and went on to have chart success and claim their place in the annals of music history.
Despite playing gigs and promo events, it would be four years before the group released anything commercially. That started in April 1986 and the single “Me And My Foolish Heart” which failed to chart anywhere. Better luck would follow in March 1987 with their second release, “Shattered Dreams”, which went top five in the UK and reached No.2 in the US in 1988!
After that the hits started to roll. “I Don’t Want To Be A Hero” followed in August 1987 reaching No.11 in the UK and No.31 in the US, as well as charting high across Europe and Canada.
By now recording and production on their debut album was at an advanced stage and a third single, the down tempo “Turn Back The Clock”, was released in late 1987 reaching No.12 in the UK and charting top ten in New Zealand and The Netherlands.
The album, also titled “Turn Back The Clock”, was released in January 1988 and instantly became a huge hit, topping the UK album chart and being certified double platinum for sales of over 600,000 there! It also charted top ten across much of Europe and peaked at No.56 in the United States.
The group were on a roll with further hits “Heart Of Gold” coming in the Spring of 1988 and reaching No.19 in the UK and “Don’t Say It’s Love” in June 1988, reaching No.48 in the UK. Despite the amazing success with their first album and five hit singles, Clark Datchler left the group at the end of 1988.
Nocito and Hayes continued with Phil Thornalley, releasing “Turn The Tide” in 1989, which stalled at No.84 in the UK and failed to chart elsewhere. The new line up released a second album under the name of Johnny Hates Jazz in 1991, “Tall Stories”, from which two further singles were released “The Last To Know” and “Let Me Change Your Mind Tonght”, but neither nor the album made any appearance in the charts anywhere. The group parted ways the following year…or so it would seem.
Since Datchler’s departure from the group, he pursued a solo career releasing three albums, “Raindance” (1990), “Fishing For Souls” (1992) and “Tomorrow” (2007), all of which were minor hits in Japan.
Mike Nocito produced “Love Shine A Light” for Katrina And The Waves in 1997, which won the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom that year.
Fast forward to 2009 and Datchler and Nocito reformed and began performing for the first time together in 21 years. They also recorded a new album “Magnetized”, released in April 2013 that included three singles, the title track, “Man With No Name” and “Lighthouse”. The album peaked at No.102 in the UK.
The pair continue to play live and are currently writing and recording new material for a forthcoming album. Datchler also co-wrote eight songs with Mike Rutherford for the Mike and Mechanics album “Let Me Fly” (2017).
The group are playing two very special gigs at Bush Hall, London on 1st and 3rd October this year. For more information and tickets CLICK HERE
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