John Kennedy (Australian musician)

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John Kennedy sometimes referred to as the King of King Street is an Australian musician, a singer-songwriter with a penchant for strong melodies and "heart on your sleeve" pop songs often with country and western influences.[who?]

Early life[edit]

Kennedy was born John Kennedy in Liverpool, England on 1 July 1958. His family migrated to Australia in when Kennedy was seven and settled in Brisbane.[1] He took the confirmation name of Francis when he was 10 to complete the famous JFK moniker.[citation needed]

JFK & The Cuban Crisis[edit]

Kennedy formed his first band, JFK & The Cuban Crisis, with former school friend James Paterson in Brisbane in 1980. They quickly established themselves on the small Brisbane scene with their smart Squeeze influenced pop. After releasing two cassette albums and playing support spots with the Pretenders and Ian Dury and the Blockheads,[citation needed] the band moved to Sydney in 1982.

After recruiting a new rhythm section, Kennedy and Paterson started performing live in Sydney in late '82 playing a residency at the Southern Cross Hotel in Surry Hills. A four song EP, Careless Talk Costs Lives, recorded in Brisbane in early '82 became the band's first release in Sydney. The EP was the first release on the new Waterfront Records label and featured the song, "The Texan Thing", which received a lot of attention and alternative radio play.[2] JFK established themselves on the Sydney inner city live scene along with contemporaries like the Triffids. However musical differences were already appearing and personality clashes followed. JFK broke up in 1984 after releasing the album The End Of The Affair and its related single, The Ballad of Jackie O.


  • John Kennedy - vocals, guitar
  • James Paterson - guitar, vocals
  • Paul Hardman - keyboards
  • John Downie - bass
  • Stephen Pritchard - drums
  • Greg Hall - bass
  • Paul Rochelli - drums
  • Oscar Beath - bass


  • "Am I A Pagan" 7" (1982) - Two Possibilities
  • Careless Talk Costs Lives 7"ep (1982) - Waterfront
  • "The Ballad of Jackie O" 7"(1984) - Waterfront
  • The End of the Affair LP (1984) - Waterfront


Kennedy embarked on a solo career with the recording of a single in 1984. To help promote the release he formed John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong. He continued to release records with ever-changing lineups of that band. In 1988, he performed at the Berlin Independence Day Music Festival.[2] He recorded a solo album in 1989[3] and did a farewell tour of Australia. After the tour he moved to US and UK before settling in Berlin. In 1990 Red Eye released a compilation of Kennedy's work and he toured Australia to promote it before returning to Germany where he formed John Kennedy and the Honeymooners.[2] The album recorded before he left Australia, Fiction Facing Facts, finally came out on Berlin label Twang! in 1993.

In early 1994 he moved to Hong Kong, then in early 1997 he moved to London. He moved back to Australia in late 1999.[4]

Kennedy released a retrospective album Inner West: Greatest Bits and Pieces, rescued from aging master tapes.[5] In 2003 released Kennedy Town, an album for which he returned to Berlin to record.[6]

John's 7" singles were often distinguished by the unusual covers. The single for "Miracle (in Marrickville)" featured an actual printed photograph of John standing in front of an auto electrician garage, and for "Big County" a plastic map of Australia was affixed to every cover.[who?]


  • "Forget"/"The End of the Affair" (1984) - Waterfront
  • "Miracle (In Marrickville)"/"Two People" (1985) - Waterfront
  • "To Love Somebody"/"Tourists in Heaven" (1988) - Mighty Boy (with Billy Baxter from the Hollowmen)
  • "Out of Town"/"Miracle" (1989) - Mighty Boy
  • Have Songs Will Travel (1990) - Red Eye
  • Fiction Facing Facts (1993) - Twang!
  • Inner West: Greatest Bits and Pieces (2001) - Laughing Outlaw[7]
  • Kennedy Town (2003) - Laughing Outlaw[8]
  • Is This Not Paris? (2009) - Foghorn Records

John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong[edit]

Kennedy formed John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong (later just called Love Gone Wrong[9]) in 1984 to promote his solo releases. They appeared on the Channel Ten TV series Starsearch, making the final in 1985. The band continued on and first released a single under that name in 1985. The band took a break in 86 while Kennedy travelled overseas but started up again later that year with a changed lineup. Kennedy broke the band up after Armiger left to join The Johnnys in 1988.[2]


  • John Kennedy - vocals
  • Graham Lee - guitar
  • Peter Kennard - bass, keyboards
  • Peter Timmerman - drums
  • Colin Bloxsom - guitar
  • Barry Turnbull - bass
  • Mark Dawson - drums
  • Margaret Labi - harmony vocals
  • Cory Messenger - guitar, harmony vocals
  • Wayne Connolly - guitar
  • Vincent Sheehan - drums
  • Michael Armiger - bass


  • "King Street"/"To Forget" (1985) - Red Eye
  • "A Time For Giving" (1985)
  • "Big Country"/"You Brought It All Back To Me" (1986) - Red Eye
  • From Woe To Go (1986) - Red Eye
  • "Run Rudolph Run"/"Rudolph's Talking Christmas Blues" (1986)
  • "Singing City"/"Love Gone Wrong" (1987) - Mighty Boy
  • Always the Bridegroom (1987) - Mighty Boy
  • "World Upside Down"/"Better Days" (1988) - Mighty Boy

John Kennedy's Sweet Dreams[edit]

Kennedy had a casual band with Barry Turnbull and Cory Messenger called John Kennedy's Sweet Dreams. They played country inspired John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong originals and covers of popular country songs.[2]

John Kennedy and the Honeymooners[edit]

While in Berlin in the then West Germany Kennedy formed John Kennedy and the Honeymooners. The band included Michael "Moe" Jaksch on double bass and guitar, Hansi Rohe, on guitar and Christopher Blenkinsop, on bass and accordion. They released one full-length album in 1993.[2] The Honeymooners were the backing band on his 2003 solo album Kennedy Town.[8]


  • The Honeymooners ep (1993)
  • Fiction Facing Facts (1993) - Polygram
  • "By the Light of the Day" (1994)

John Kennedy and the Lone Gunmen[edit]

Back in Australia Kennedy formed John Kennedy and the Lone Gunmen.[10]


  • John Kennedy - vocals, guitar
  • Steve Broughton - bass
  • Jason Walker - guitar
  • Osama Mustafa - drums

John Kennedy's '68 Comeback Special[edit]

After John Kennedy and the Lone Gunmen Kennedy formed John Kennedy's '68 Comeback Special,[11] a band which included former members of Love Gone Wrong.[12]


  • John Kennedy - vocals, guitar
  • Peter Timmerman - drums
  • Jeff Pope - guitar, dobro, pedal steel
  • Glen Pye - harmony vocals, harmonica
  • Smithy - bass
  • Steve Broughton - bass
  • Colin Bloxsom - guitar
  • JD Love - guitar
  • Murray Cook - guitar
  • Megan Heyward - harmony vocals


  • Someone's Dad (2007) - Regal Records[13]
  • Is This Not Paris? (2009) - Foghorn Records
  • Sons of Sun-Vol.1 (2011) - Foghorn Records
  • Sons of Sun-Vol.2 (2012) - Foghorn Records


  1. ^ Carter, Alison (11 March 1988), "Tall tales of love", Sydney Morning Herald 
  2. ^ a b c d e f McFarlane, Ian (1999). Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. 
  3. ^ Howell, Anne (2 February 1989), "Why JFK was forced to defect", Sydney Morning Herald 
  4. ^ "John Kennedy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  5. ^ Lalor, Peter (7 February 2002), "back to kennedy years", Daily Telegraph 
  6. ^ Mengel, Noel (19 April 2003), "When love comes to town the second time around", Courier Mail 
  7. ^ Holmes, Peter (16 December 2001), "Inner West: Greatest Bits and Pieces review", Sun Herald 
  8. ^ a b "Kennedy Town review", Courier Mail, 15 February 2003 
  9. ^ Coupe, Stuart (17 January 1988), "It's going right for Kennedy", Sun Herald 
  10. ^ Holmes, Peter (16 March 2003), "THIS farewell tour thing is really taking...", Sun Herald 
  11. ^ Mengel, Noel (1 May 2003), "The urban cowboy", Courier Mail 
  12. ^ Mengel, Noel (17 April 2003), "THIS farewell tour thing is really taking...", Courier Mail 
  13. ^ Apter, Jeff (14 September 2007), "Someone's Dad review", Sydney Morning Herald 
  • Spencer, Chris (1989). Who's Who Of Australian Rock (2nd ed.). The Five Mile Press. ISBN 0-86788-213-1. 

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