Joe Longthorne

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Joseph Patrick Longthorne MBE (born 31 May 1955, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire) is an English singer and impersonator of Romani ethnicity.

Early life[edit]

Longthorne was born into a show business family, his parents both being travelling show people. He is from Hessle Road, Hull, known for its fishing community, thus considers himself as a "Hessle Roader." He attended Villa Place Primary School, St Wilfred's Primary School and Sydney Smith High School.[1]

When he was six, he came first in a talent show and his prize was a toy motor car. At fourteen he landed a part in Yorkshire Television's series Junior Showtime, and remained with the show for over two years.[2] He then turned professional and earned a living in Northern working men's clubs.


It was through the London Weekend Television series Search For a Star in 1981 that Longthorne was first launched onto the British televiewing public as a singer and impressionist, and his success on the show led to appearances at the London Palladium and a month-long season at London's Talk of the Town.

The following year Longthorne received the Variety Club's award for most promising artiste. He made a further breakthrough on British television in 1987, starring in Live from the Palladium and Des O'Connor Tonight. Longthorne also released three platinum albums for Telstar, The Joe Longthorne Songbook, Especially For You and The Joe Longthorne Christmas Album.

During his tour of Australia he appeared on The Mike Walsh Show.


Longthorne's live performances have also been broadcast on BBC Radio, with him featuring on Friday Night is Music Night. In August 2009, Longthorne appeared in a tribute show to Don Black, at the London Palladium.


He is well known for his rendition of Dame Shirley Bassey. Other famous impersonations include Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, and Matt Monro, all of which he does without props.


Longthorne discovered he had blood cancer in 1987. It was around the time of his appearance at the Royal Variety Performance in 1989, that he was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic lymphoma for which he received treatment. He continued to perform in spite of his illness. However, in 2005 the lymphoma degenerated into leukaemia, and he underwent a bone marrow transplant.[3]

In 2014, Longthorne had throat cancer, but remained adamant in newspaper interviews that he would continue to perform after his operation.[4]

Live performances[edit]

Longthorne has been very successful in live performances and tours. In 1985 he was invited to headline a season at the Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. He has even sold out at hotels in Las Vegas.

After responding to cancer treatment, Longthorne embarked on a tour of Australia. When his television show finished, in the 1990s he began to focus on tours and live shows. These were enormously popular, with his 1995 Blackpool show grossing £1.75million. During his tours, he would shun hotels in favour of a £78,000 caravan.[5]

Longthorne continued performing into the early 1990s with sell-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall, the Sydney Opera House and the London Palladium. His music videos Live in Concert and A Man and His Music were steady sellers in the 1990s.

In 2006, Longthorne performed again at the London Palladium following leukaemia. In 2010 he performed at the IndigO2 and joined Engelbert Humperdinck on a tour of Australia, Europe and the USA.[6]

In 2013, he performed at the Hippodrome, and in 2015 at the Palladium once again for a star-studded 60th birthday concert featuring comedians Jimmy Tarbuck and Johnnie Casson. Casson joined Longthorne on his post-cancer 2016 'No Regrets' tour.


Having enjoyed a private helicopter, expensive cars, £1000 suits, and a six-bedroom mansion in Stubbings, Maidenhead, Longthorne filed for bankruptcy in 1996, allegedly due to "financial mismanagement" following a change of management in 1994. At aged 39, he admitted, "I have hit a brick wall where I am unable to pay my debts."[7]


In 2007 the Variety Club awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award, which placed him amongst past recipients such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Ella Fitzgerald.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to charity.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Longthorne currently lives in Blackpool, Lancashire with his partner and manager, James Moran.[9] However, Longthorne also has a son, Ricky, with a woman named Susan. Ricky was named after an early manager, Ricky Hamilton. He and Ricky were estranged for 17 years until re-united in 2009.[10] He is Catholic and received the last rites in 2005 while battling leukaemia. His body weakened after 11 years of chemotherapy, he claims Jesus told him not to give up on life in 2005.


  • Only Once
  • The Singer
  • Especially For You
  • I Wish You Love (1993)
  • Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1994)
  • You´re My World
  • The Christmas Album
  • Reflections
  • You and Me
  • The Impossible Dream Live Album 2011
  • Lady Blue
  • The Inspirational Joe Longthorne (2012)
  • A Man and His Music (2013)
  • Joe Longthorne the Christmas Album (2013)
  • Christmas with Joe Longthorne & Friends (2014)
  • Joe Longthorne - Live at the Hippodrome (2015)
  • Joe Longthorne - The Collection (2015)


  • Joe Longthorne - Sugar in the Morning: The Autobiography (2015)


  1. ^ "Joe Longthorne Battling Throat Cancer". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ True, Chris. "Biography: Joe Longthorne". AMG. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  3. ^ "5 Celebrities from Yorkshire – Where are they now?". imfromyorkshire. Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Hull singing sensation Joe Longthorne battles throat cancer". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "DEBTS KILLED MY DREAM". thefreelibrary. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Survivor Joe's lust for life". Daily Star. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  7. ^ Robertson, Willie. "Star went from rags to riches and back again". The Mirror. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  8. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 18.
  9. ^ "Hull singing sensation Joe Longthorne battles throat cancer". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Bushell, Garry. "Joe also had a serious long term relationship for over 20 years with a woman named Rita Lamey, who he originally met in Jersey early in 1975. They lived together for many years both in Jersey and Bournemouth, finally moving to Maidenhead. Singing star Joe Longthorne has landed a world tour after finally beating leukaemia". Daily Star. Retrieved 2 April 2016.

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