John Gustafson (musician)

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John Gustafson
Birth nameJohn Frederick Gustafson
Also known asJohnny Gustafson, Johnny Gus
Born(1942-08-08)8 August 1942
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died12 September 2014(2014-09-12) (aged 72)
GenresRock, hard rock, pop rock, beat, jazz-fusion, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsBass guitar, vocals, guitar, piano
Years active1960s–2014

John Frederick "Johnny" Gustafson (8 August 1942 – 12 September 2014) was an English bass guitar player and singer, who had a lengthy recording and live performance career. During his career, he was a member of the bands The Big Three, Ian Gillan Band, Roxy Music and his own group, Quatermass, among others.


Born in Liverpool to a father of Swedish descent and mother of Irish descent,[1] he is known for his work with 1960s bands The Big Three and The Merseybeats, and for singing on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar as Simon Zealotes. He made an appearance on Roger Glover's The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast album track, "Watch Out for the Bat", as a vocalist. He is probably best known for playing bass guitar for several re-incarnations of the Ian Gillan Band and for his earlier participation in the progressive rock band, Quatermass. He also re-formed The Pirates, originally the backing band for Johnny Kidd.[2]

Gustafson was a member of Roxy Music for four years and performed on three studio albums. His final record with the band, Siren, included their only American top 40 hit single, "Love Is the Drug".[3] Frontman Bryan Ferry later called Gustafson a "wonderful player", adding, "“Love Is the Drug” wouldn’t have been anything without the bass playing. It really bought that track alive."[4]

He was bassist on several tracks for Flamenco guitarist Juan Martin's 1981 concept album, Picasso Portraits (Flamencovision CD FV 03, 1994) namely: Harlequin – 1918, Desire Caught By The Tail – 1943, The Aficionado – 1912 and Girls of Algiers – 1955. Also played on Kevin Ayers' album The Confessions of Dr Dream, 1974.

In 1983 he was in the group Rowdy which included Ray Fenwick and Billy Bremner.

Gustafson is the father of John and Lee from his first marriage, and Alice, Lucy and Joe from his marriage to Anne Gustafson, who he was married to for over 30 years until his death.


With The Big Three
With The Merseybeats
  • The Merseybeats Fontana (1964)
  • On Stage Fontana EP (1964)
  • I Think of You Fontana EP (1964)
  • Wishin' and Hopin' Fontana EP (1964)
  • The Merseybeats Greatest Hits Look (compilation album) (1977)
  • Beats and Ballads Edsel (compilation) (1982)
With Quatermass
With Bullet / Hard Stuff
  • "Hobo" / "Sinister Minister" – Single (1971) Purple Records (as Bullet)
  • Bulletproof Purple Records (1972)
  • Bolex Dementia Purple Records (1973)
  • The Entrance to Hell – different mix of Bulletproof (2010) (as Bullet)
With Roxy Music
With Ablution
With Peter Robinson, Jayson Lindh, Jan Schaffer, Malando Gassama, Barry De Souza, Ola Brunkert.
  • Ablution CBS (1974)
With Ian Gillan Band
With The Pirates
  • Lights Out/I'm into Something Good EP (1986), with Mick Green and Frank Farley
  • Still Shakin Magnum/Thunderbolt (1988), with Mick Green and Geoff Britton
  • Live in Japan Thunderbolt (2001), with Mick Green and Les Sampson

As contributor[edit]

  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1969) On vocals.
  • Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1974) On bass.
With Roger Glover And Guests
  • The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast (1974) John vocals on Watch Out For The Bat.
With Shawn Phillips
  • Furthermore (1974)
  • Rumplestiltskin's Resolve (1976)
With Steve Hackett
With Bryan Ferry
  • Let's Stick Together (1976) Bass on Re-Make/Re-Model
With Gordon Giltrap
  • The Peacock Party PVK (1981)
  • Live Electric (1981)
With Joe Jammer
With Ian Paice,Tony Ashton,Jon Lord
  • Malice in Wonderland (1977).

Solo album[edit]

  • Goose Grease Angel Air (1997)


  1. ^ Obituary, Independent newspaper.
  2. ^ John Gustafson Brief biography by Bruce Eder at Allmusic
  3. ^ "Bassist Gustafson dead at 72". Classic Rock. 14 September 2014.
  4. ^ ""People drifted off…" Bryan Ferry on Roxy Music's many bass players". Uncut. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2021.

External links[edit]