John Perry (musician)

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For other musicians of that name, see John Perry (disambiguation).
John Perry
Birth name John M. Perry
Born (1952-06-04)4 June 1952
Bristol, England
Genres Rock, New Wave, post-punk
Instruments Guitar, Piano
Years active 1971 – date
Labels CBS, Epic, Sony
Notable instruments
Fender Stratocaster
Gibson Les Paul Junior
Martin M-38

John Perry is an English musician, best known as guitarist with The Only Ones, a new wave rock band from London.

The Only Ones came out of London during the first wave of Punk (1976/7) and, rather like the New York bands The Heartbreakers and Television with whom they later toured, suffered from being too musical for lumpen-punk but too "new" for conservative record business sensibilities.

His guitar style is noted for a combination of attack and melody, a combination which one UK music mag was moved to describe as "very superb"[1]

Other bands in which John played include The Ratbites from Hell (pre-Only Ones) and Decline and Fall (post-Only Ones). Perry has also worked with Johnny Thunders, Marianne Faithfull, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, The Sisters of Mercy, Mick Green, Robert Palmer, Freddie Stevenson, Jayne County, Screaming Lord Sutch, Nick Kent & The Subterraneans, Michael Nyman and Evan Dando of The Lemonheads.[2] He was MD (musical director) on the Johnny Thunders/Patti Palladin album Copycats.

John started out with local, late-60's bands in Bristol, then at 20 joined a loose bunch of musicians centred on the Pink Fairies, Hawkwind and other UK Underground bands. After playing the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre (the first with the pyramid stage) there followed a series of British & European tours and annual festivals in Pilton, Oxford, Trentishoe et al.

In late 1975 he hooked up with Peter Perrett, recording demos in South London; this soon turned into The Only Ones. After a self-produced single "Lovers of Today/Peter and the Pets" The Only Ones signed with CBS in January 1978. (They might have done better signing to Island, whose owner Chris Blackwell made several impassioned pleas to the band, culminating in an helicopter dash to a Midlands gig where he made a final appeal for the band sign to Island.)

The band's first major label single "Another Girl, Another Planet" appeared on CBS to immediate, almost universal critical acclaim but crawled no higher than the lower reaches of the Top 100. Despite frequent re-releases over three decades in various formats, sizes, and colours of vinyl, the record would not chart. Frequent use in films and in a major European TV and cinema advertising campaign for Vodaphone, the record never charted. It appears in several critical volumes such as Paul William's "100 Greatest Singles" but has remained a 'turntable hit'.

Between 1976 and 1980 the band recorded three studio LPs for CBS Records (Epic Records in the US) and made sufficient appearances on BBC Radio and TV to release two albums, The John Peel Sessions and a double CD Darkness & Light: The Complete BBC Recordings.

The Only Ones split in 1980 during an eventful US tour supporting The Who, which saw the arrests of several band members in separate events in California.

Recently, he has written several books of musicology, on The Who's singles,[3] The Rolling Stones' double album Exile on Main Street – and as part of the 33⅓ series, on Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland.

In late February 2007 The Only Ones reformed, appearing at All Tomorrows Parties and a sold-out show at the Shepherds Bush Empire. That summer they played huge outdoor festivals in London's Hyde Park, at Harewood House in Yorkshire, and Inveraray Castle in Scotland where they shared bills with Big Star, Primal Scream, Johnny Marr, The White Stripes and many others.

The band's tour schedule throughout 2008–10 took them to France, Spain, Holland, Norway, Sweden, and twice to Japan. They are billed to play Japan again in November 2014. Despite packed concerts and great reviews, sources close to the band confirm that the new songs heard in concert show have yet to be released.

Perry, who was a side-artist on The Lemonheads album Varshons, joined Evan Dando onstage at the Ben & Jerry's Summer Sundae festival in Clapham Common, London on Sunday 27 July 2008.


  1. ^ Sounds, May 1978
  2. ^ ""Varshons" review, UNCUT". Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy: The Who". 

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