John McKenzie (musician)

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John McKenzie
Birth nameJohn Michael McKenzie
Paddington, London, England
Died10 May 2020 (aged 64)
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, fretless bass, guitar, backing vocals
Years active1970 – 2020
LabelsMCA, Columbia, RCA, Warner Music Vision, EMI Records

John Michael McKenzie (1955 – 10 May 2020) was a British bass guitarist who was a member of bands such as Global Village Trucking Company and Man. He played on numerous singles, notably for Eurythmics, The Pretenders and Alison Moyet; and was a touring musician with acts as diverse as Lionel Richie, Dr. John and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


McKenzie started his career in 1970 as a member of the Global Village Trucking Company, who all lived together in an old farm house in Sotherton, Suffolk,[1] with their families, and became a well-known live act by playing extended jams at numerous benefit concerts and free festivals.[2] Their first recording was as part of Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall, a benefit album recorded at Dingwalls and released in 1973. The same year, the BBC made and broadcast a documentary about the band, their commune, and their shunning of record companies. In 2008 the BBC made a follow-up documentary for their What Happened Next series, which included the band performing a reunion gig, their first in over 30 years, which led to Global Village gigs at Glastonbury 2008 and other festivals.[3] In 1975 they recorded an eponymous album, but broke up shortly afterwards.

McKenzie came to prominence as the bass player of the rock band Man, which he joined in 1975, having auditioned for the role.[4] He recorded The Welsh Connection for which he also wrote one track, and which reached No 40 in the UK Album Chart.[5] During a US tour to promote the album, including performances with John Cipollina, in July/August 1976, differences between the band members arose, and on the next European tour McKenzie and Phil Ryan announced they would be leaving.[4] However, they remained together for a farewell tour, on which a live album, All's Well That Ends Well, was recorded at the Roundhouse in December 1976.

He then played on records of artists like Annette Peacock, Steve Hillage and Noel McCalla.[6]

The 1980s saw him playing on records by Bob Young, Shusha Guppy, Wham!, Deke Leonard, Morrissey-Mullen, Claire Hamill, Space Monkey, Jim Diamond, Bob Dylan, Al Corley, The Pretenders, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Microdisney, Five Star, Endgames (with Mel Gaynor), Atomic Rooster's John Mizarolli. He played on three Eurythmics hit singles "Thorn in My Side", "When Tomorrow Comes" and "The Miracle of Love". He also was featured on the soundtrack of the movie La Boum 2 and on albums including Gary Moore, Ian Paice, Jaki Graham, Don Airey, Richard Bailey, Peter Auty, Billy Bremner, Terry Stannard, Simon Kirke, Earl Slick, Graham Lyle and Chris Thompson. He also produced singles along with Candy McKenzie and Mel Gaynor. In 1984, he produced the LP Spell It Out, songs recorded by his father Mike McKenzie, and mother, the actress Elizabeth McKenzie.

In 1990, he played on The Pretenders' hit single "Hold a Candle to This", Alison Moyet's "It Won't Be Long" (and the album Hoodoo) and played on records by Patti Austin, Latin Quarter, Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera, Moyet's Essex, Matt Bianco, Pete Brown, Helen Watson and Kevin Rowland which later led to McKenzie playing for Dexys Midnight Runners. He also played on the UK hit single "You Better Believe It" by Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer for Children in Need.[7]

McKenzie also produced the record Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music of Peter Green featuring Ian Anderson, Arthur Brown, Rory Gallagher, Gregg Bissonette, Stuart Hamm, Luther Grosvenor, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Ken Hensley, Max Middleton, Zoot Money, Billy Sheehan, Bob Tench, Snowy White, Roy Z, John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Savoy Brown and many more. His 1991 performance with Seal was released on DVD, entitled Live at the Point, in 2004. In 2005 he was featured on Roots Manuva's "The Falling". He also played on records by Bond, Antigone Foster, Jim Diamond, Kokomo, Paddy Casey, Louis Philippe, Wet Wet Wet's Marti Pellow and on East 17's UK hit single "Secret of My Life" in 2011.

He toured the world as a musician for Lionel Richie, Shakira, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Eric Burdon, Kajagoogoo, Dr. John, Johnny Mathis, Everything But The Girl, Todd Sharpville, Branford Marsalis, Rui Veloso, Tim Finn, Ive Mendes, Tom Scott, David Dundas, Danny Tenaglia, The Christians, Phenix Horns, Duran Duran's Andy Taylor, Jimmy Iovine, Dave Stewart, Wild, Leon Ware, Eternal, James Ingram, Francis Rossi, Soft Machine's Karl Jenkins, Albert Lee, Barbara Dickson, Davy Spillane, Charles Aznavour, Raw Stylus, Linda Taylor, Blair Cunningham, Andy Newmark, Teresa Teng, Annabel Lamb, Nadirah X, Bob Clearmountain, Mitchell Froom, Arthur Louis, as well as Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra.[8]

In 2012, he toured with Dexy's Midnight Runners including an appearance on Later with Jools Holland. In December 2013 McKenzie toured with classical crossover pianist Maksim Mrvica.[9]

He died on 10 May 2020.[10]


Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1994 – Steve HillageBBC Radio 1 Live
  • 1995 – Phil ManzaneraManzanera Collection
  • 1999 – ManRare Man
  • 2004 – Steve HillageLive at Deeply Vale Festival '78
  • 2005 – EurythmicsBoxed
  • 2005 – ManLive at the Keystone, Berkeley, 9 August 1976
  • 2006 – The PretendersPirate Radio
  • 2008 – The Gun ClubThe Life & Times of Jeffrey Lee Pierce & The Gun Club
  • 2013 – ManMany Man Are Called
  • 2013 – Bob DylanThe Complete Audio Collection Vol. 1


  • 1982 – La Boum 2
  • 1995 – Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music of Peter Green
  • 2000 – Peter Green Songbook
  • 2001 – Arabesque Zoudge
  • 2001 - David French - All The Difference



  1. ^ Jefferies, Dinah (14 June 2014). "My children grew up in a commune". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  2. ^ Dave Thompson. "Global Village Trucking Company – Global Village Trucking Company | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  3. ^ "BBC Four – What Happened Next?, Global Village Trucking Co". 15 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b "The MCA Years". 16 December 1976. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Official Charts Company – Man". Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  6. ^ "John McKenzie | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  7. ^ "John McKenzie Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  8. ^ "John Michael McKenzie". Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Introducing Maksim's Band... 邁可森合作演出的樂團成員簡介 @ Croatian Pianist - Maksim Mrvica 鋼琴玩家 - 邁可森 :: 痞客邦 PIXNET ::". 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  10. ^ John McKenzie obituary

External links[edit]