Jeffrey Leo Newton was born on 22 April 1946 in Sydney. He began his singing career by joining a church choir at the age of eight and entered his first talent quest about 12 months later, and in the six years that followed sang at numerous school concerts and social functions.
He began his singing career by joining a church choir at the age of eight and entered his first talent quest about 12 months later, and in the six years that followed sang at numerous school concerts and social functions.
Jeff’s voice broke when he was 14, and a year later he gained third place in a television talent quest as a baritone. As a result of his performance, Jeff was given a permanent place in the show’s cast, appearing weekly for three years.
At 19, Jeff joined a Sydney band called Syndicate. After a brief spell as the Wildoats, Syndicate became The ID.
In late 1965 the group scored a five-month residency at the Rhubarb Club (Sydney’s first real disco). In 1967, with the release of their first single, Big Time Operator, the band won several appearances on television music shows across Australia.
Jeff disbanded The Id at the close of 1967 and formed a new band called Yama. Sadly, in less than a year, Jeff was hospitalised for four months to have a major leg operation and the group folded.
By 1969, Jeff was singing with ill-fated supergroup The Copperwine alongside Barry Kelly (keyboards), Alan Ingham (bass), Ross East (guitar) and Peter Figures (drums). Vocalist Wendy Saddington was the last member to join in 1970.
Their first single, Days To Come, was released in 1970, followed shortly by their debut album, Joint Effort, which featured Billy Thorpe on harmonica.
The band released the single Teach Me How To Fly in January 1971. It was to become their first #1.
Also in January 1971, Copperwine attended the Wallacia Festival, in central New South Wales, and recorded a live album without Jeff St John. It was released as Wendy Saddington and Copperwine Live but Saddington had left before its release in February.
Jeff St John passed away on 6 March 2018 at the age of 71.
Jeff St John