Artists – J

Jefferson Airplane

In November 1965, Jefferson Airplane received a $20,000 advance from RCA Records – the largest advance ever paid to any rock band at that time. Their career went on to document the 1960s adventure from naive optimism through excited experiment to messianic self-indulgence. Following their folk rock debut, Takes Off (1966), the arrival of former model Grace Slick(…)


The roots of Jellyfish can be traced back to the dawn of the ’80s, when guitarist/keyboardist Roger Manning and lead singer Andy Sturmer (rock ‘n’ roll’s first great standup drummer) met in high school in the hyper-suburban community of Pleasanton, not too long a drive from Berkeley, but worlds away from that bohemian town. Their(…)

Jenny & The Rascals

Jenny and The Rascals formed in 1965 in Holland. Jenny Streur  Vocals, guitar Ton van de Neut Guitar Aad Plumiert Bass Ruddy Fisscher Drums

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis was raised in the same Pentecostal religious tradition and cultural setting as Elvis, and was exposed to almost identical musical influences. From there on the two young rebels grew to be as different as milkshake and moonshine. Unlike Presley and other contemporaries, Lewis really was as outrageously extreme as his later image. By(…)

Jerry Wexler

He didn’t sing, play or write songs, but Jerry Wexler (born in 1917) changed music significantly more than most people who could do all three. His roles – reporter, A&R man, producer – conceal an input into the course of popular culture that was nothing short of visionary. For small starters, Jerry Wexler was the(…)

Jesse Winchester

James Ridout “Jesse” Winchester was born on 17 May 1944 in Shreveport, Louisiana. His father, stationed there as an Air Force major at the time, descended from a prominent Memphis family related by blood to Robert E Lee and to the founders of the city of Memphis. Jesse’s great-great-great-great grandfather was responsible for getting Davey(…)

Jesus & Mary Chain, The

Formed in East Kilbride, Scotland, this indie quartet originally comprised William Reid (vocals, guitar), Jim Reid (vocals, guitar), Douglas Hart (bass) and Murray Dalglish (drums). William Reid chucked in his job at a cheese-packing factory in Glasgow and his brother Jim gave up working for Rolls Royce to form the band in 1983. In the(…)

Jesus Jones

Dozens of English guitar bands converted to dance music following the success of Happy Mondays and others. Mike Edwards and company were a guitar band of no fixed style until 1988 when they took a holiday in Spain and decided to reinvent themselves. Needing a new moniker to inspire their resurrection, they paired a popular(…)

Jet Harris

British musician Terence Harris – nicknamed “Jet” because he was one of the fastest runners in his school – played bass guitar in The Shadows (originally Cliff Richard‘s backing band). Harris was introduced to Richard in 1958 and was credited with coming up with the name The Shadows. With The Shadows, Harris enjoyed a string of hits in(…)

Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull was formed in Luton, England, in 1967 when Ian Anderson (vocals, flute) and Glenn Cornick (bass) – members of a visiting Blackpool blues group, John Evan’s Smash – became acquainted with Mick Abrahams (guitar, vocals) and Clive Bunker (drums). Abrahams’ colleague in local attraction McGregor’s Engine, completed the original line-up which named itself(…)

JFK and The Cuban Crisis

Liverpool-born, Brisbane-raised John Kennedy formed JFK and the Cuban Crisis in Brisbane, Queensland, in October 1980. Playing a brand of jangly guitar pop with country overtones, the band originally comprised Kennedy on vocals and guitar, James Paterson (vocals, mandolin), Holger Maschke (slide guitar), Paul Hardman (keyboards), John Downie (bass) and Stephen Pritchard (drums). The band(…)

Jilted John

Jilted John was a character invented by Graham Fellows, a 19-year-old from Sheffield, while he was studying at drama school in Manchester in 1977. He enjoyed a one-hit wonder in August 1978 with a song also titled Jilted John (but which everyone knows as “Gordon is a moron”, thanks to the oft-repeated phrase in the song). An(…)

Jim Croce

Jim Croce (pronounced CROW-chee) was born in South Philadelphia on 10 January 1943, and brought up on ragtime, country and Dixieland music. He played the accordion as a child and taught himself guitar, but did not play professionally until 1964 when he was at Villanova College in Pennsylvania. There he formed various bands and played(…)

Jim Reeves

The son of an impoverished Texas farming family, Jim Reeves was actually a very successful country music recording artist before he came to the attention of the world at large. It wasn’t until he signed a recording contract with RCA Victor in 1955 (at the age of 32) that the now familiar Reeves sound began(…)

Jimi Hendrix

James Marshall Hendrix (real name: Johnny Allen Hendrix) was born in Seattle, Washington in 1942. He began his short career by touring with a number of R&B shows from 1961 to 1966. In 1966 Hendrix moved to England and founded The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a trio that included Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, and who were – with(…)