Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson

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For other people, see Joe Henderson (disambiguation).

Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson (2 May 1920 – 4 May 1980)[1] was a British pianist, most noteworthy during the 1950s.


Henderson was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He was taught to play the piano by his mother and became a professional at age fifteen, playing in dance bands. After World War II, he began working for the Peter Maurice publishing company. It was there that he met the singer Petula Clark in 1947. In 1949, Henderson introduced Clark to Alan A. Freeman, who, together with her father Leslie, formed the Polygon record label, for which she recorded her earliest hits.

In 1955, Clark suggested Henderson be allowed to record his own music, and he enjoyed two chart hits on Polygon, "Sing It With Joe" and "Sing It Again With Joe", both medleys of popular songs.

It was around this time that the two became involved romantically. Their relationship lasted a couple of years, professionally culminating in a BBC Radio series in which they performed together. Speculation that the couple planned to marry became rife. However, with the increasing glare of being in the public spotlight, and Clark's growing fame—her career in France was just beginning—Henderson, reportedly not wanting to end up as "Mr. Petula Clark", decided to call the whole thing off.[citation needed] They remained on friendly terms, and, in 1962, he penned a ballad about their break-up, called "There's Nothing More To Say", for Clark's LP In Other Words.

Henderson's biggest hit was "Trudie", which made #14 in the UK Singles Chart,[1] and #1 in the sheet music chart, where it was the biggest hit of 1958. The song also won an Ivor Novello Award.

He continued to work through the 1960s and 1970s—at one time presenting a weekday afternoon show on BBC Radio 2—until 4 May 1980, when he died of a heart attack, aged 60.[2]

In 1994, a fourteen-minute medley of Clark singing while accompanied by Henderson, recorded around 1958, was found in the Pye Records vaults and released on her CD, The Nixa Years: Volume 2.

Chart discography[edit]

  • "Sing It With Joe" (June 1955) — Polygon P 1167 — UK #14
  • "Sing It Again With Joe" (September 1955) — Polygon P 1184 — UK #18
  • "Trudie" (July 1958) — Pye Nixa N 15147 — UK #14
  • "Treble Chance" (October 1959) — Pye 7N 15224 — UK #28
  • "Ooh! La! La!" (March 1960) — Pye 7N 15257 — UK #44[1]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 250. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ — accessed August 2010