King in 2007
|Born||Kenneth George King
6 December 1944
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge|
|Occupation||Record producer, singer, songwriter, music entrepreneur, TV presenter, talent-spotter|
|Known for||Pop records, discovery of Genesis, owning label that released early 10cc hits, being an original backer of The Rocky Horror Show, presenter of Entertainment USA|
|Notable work||Everyone's Gone to the Moon; It's Good News Week; Johnny Reggae; Una Paloma Blanca|
|Awards||British Phonographic Industry Man of the Year, 1997|
Jonathan King (born Kenneth George King; 6 December 1944) is an English singer-songwriter, record producer, music entrepreneur, and former TV and radio presenter.
King entered the music industry with his 1965 single "Everyone's Gone to the Moon", which was a global hit. He followed this with more record releases of which several made the charts in the 1960s and 1970s.
King also worked with other acts. He discovered and named Genesis. He produced the Bay City Rollers' first hit. He started the record label UK Records in 1972. An early signing was 10cc who he named and who released their product with the label. In the 1980s King increased his media work and appeared as a presenter of British television programmes including Entertainment USA.
Early life and education
King was born in London of an American-born father and English-born mother. His father was a company managing director who died when King was nine. The family had moved to Surrey, and King and his two brothers, James and Anthony, were raised in the village of Ewhurst near Dorking. He attended Stoke House boarding school in Seaford, East Sussex, and later Charterhouse, in Godalming, Surrey, both private schools.
On a trip around the world, King met the manager of The Beatles, Brian Epstein in Hawaii. He was encouraged by Epstein to pursue a career in the music industry. He had earlier been recorded by producer Joe Meek but those tracks had never been released. King studied at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Between 1965 and 1979, 18 of the singles released by King, on which he performed, appeared in the Top 75 of the UK Singles Chart; five made the Top 10. He was the producer on several others. Some were studio "novelty" records released under his own name or as a pseudonymous band or artiste.
Whilst still an undergraduate, King wrote and sang "Everyone's Gone to the Moon", released through Decca Records. It reached the top 5 of the UK charts, also charting in other countries, and was later awarded a gold disc. He wrote and produced "It's Good News Week" by Hedgehoppers Anonymous, which, later in 1965, was also a hit in the UK, Europe, Australia and reached the top 50 in America.
In 1967, after leaving university, he presented a television show on ITV, Good Evening; I'm Jonathan King. It ran for six months on Saturday evenings. Around this time, King was recruited by Sir Edward Lewis, the founder of Decca Records, to be his unofficial personal assistant.
In 1967, King discovered, named and signed,[a] the band that was to become Genesis. During a visit to his old school, Charterhouse, a friend of one of the band members handed him a recording by the band, whose members were pupils at the school. King decided that he would be the band's record producer, choosing its name, Genesis, to mark the start of his production career. He produced its first single, "The Silent Sun" (which the band subsequently described as a "Bee Gees pastiche"), and its first album, From Genesis to Revelation. Neither record made any impact, with the album selling only 650 copies. Genesis parted with King after this and the band gradually reshaped its music in the style that subsequently made it famous. King still holds the rights to the first album and has re-released it several times under a variety of titles. Bassist Mike Rutherford has commented that "for all his faults" King had given the band an opportunity to record which was, at that time, hard to come by for an amateur band. 
King released records, as producer, writer, label boss and performer, several of which made the top of the charts. Examples of these were "Loop di Love", credited pseudonymously as Shag, and "Johnny Reggae" as The Piglets. He recorded the country song Hooked On A Feeling and turned it into a pop track by adding an unusual intro. This was covered by Swedish group Blue Swede in 1974, giving them a US Number One, which has featured in shows and movies since then, including the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy (film) In 1971 King produced the Bay City Rollers and gave them their first hit. The single "Keep on Dancing", reached number 9 in the UK charts. According to Music Week he was the singles producer of the year in 1971, with other hits including "Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers in the Air)" by St Cecelia.
In September 1972, King set up the record label UK Records, initially distributed by Decca. UK Records' most significant signing was 10cc The band made eight UK singles with the label, including "Donna" and "Rubber Bullets". Although the band also released four US singles it only dented the American market with Rubber Bullets making 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. 10cc left UK Records in 1975 for Mercury Records, after which it achieved some further success in America. Other signings to UK Records included Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs, Roy C, The First Class and Lobo, and it also released King's own recordings. Some, like The Sun Has Got His Hat On under the name Nemo were turntable successes.
In 1973, King became one of the two original backers of the The Rocky Horror Show. After seeing it on its second night, he took a 20% stake in the show and produced the original cast album, released on King's music label.
King closed UK Records in 1979 but has regularly re-released recordings from the UK Records catalogue.
In the 1980s, King moved away from working in the music industry and developed his career in other parts of the media. During 1980 and 1981, King presented a daily radio talk show on New York's WMCA from 10–12 weekday mornings, and regularly reported from the U.S. on Top of the Pops. A spinoff series, Entertainment USA was broadcast on BBC2. He was associate producer of the youth TV show No Limits. He co-hosted the ITV programme Ultra Quiz during 1983. He wrote a weekly page in The Sun for eight years called "Bizarre USA". He also wrote two novels, Bible Two and The Booker Prize Winner. He continued some music projects, including the rock group "Gogmagog", and hosted the Brit Awards for the BBC in 1987. He then produced the event from 1990 to 1992.
King's media work included producing the BBC quest for a Eurovision Song Contest entrant from 1995. Ooh Aah... Just a Little Bit, the UK's entrant in 1996, performed by Australian singer Gina G, was a number one single in the UK, and came eighth in the competition. The UK won in 1997 with Love Shine A Light performed by Katrina and the Waves. He also founded, in 1993, The Tip Sheet, a magazine promoting unsigned musical acts. It stopped printing in 2002 to be replaced by an online version. In 1997, he was awarded the British Phonographic Industry Man of the Year Award with a message of support from the then-prime minister Tony Blair for his "important contribution to one of this country's great success stories."
In 2000 King was investigated by police about allegations of sexual offences committed against boys in the 1960s. The investigation had been prompted by one of his alleged victims contacting the publicist Max Clifford, who advised him to contact the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) in May that year, initially in relation to alleged offences committed by another celebrity. The complainant subsequently alleged that King had assaulted him in the early 1970s when the complainant was a teenager. NCIS handed the investigation over to Surrey Police, who found a second complainant to make similar allegations. The police interviewed King in November and he went on television denying "these absurd allegations". As a result of this appearance other men came forward to make similar allegations. Surrey Police claimed that their investigation, covering the years 1969 to 1989, had found that King had approached 10,000 to 20,000 boys, ostensibly to question them for research, which the police said was "a device to get to the boys and start speaking to them and grooming them for his purposes."
The investigation led to King's prosecution which was split between several trials at the Old Bailey. King denied the charges but, in September 2001, he was found guilty, in the first of the trials, of four offences of indecent assault, one of buggery and one of attempted buggery against five boys aged 14 and 15 during the 1980s. He was found not guilty in a second trial two months later. The Judge ordered the remaining charges dropped and sentenced him to 7 years' imprisonment for the offences in the first trial as a sample for all charges. In sentencing him, Judge David Paget, QC, said "You used your fame and success to attract adolescent and impressionable boys. You then abused the trust they and their parents placed in you."
During the second trial the prosecution had offered no further evidence when the alleged victim admitted that he was "probably over 16" at the time of the alleged offences. The prosecution failed to prove that any sex was non-consensual.[b] The defence position was that King had never met the man. The judge ordered the prosecution to drop all the charges in the remaining trials.
King has always maintained that he is innocent of all the offences of which he was convicted. He claims that he is a victim of a miscarriage of justice brought about by an incredibly unfair legal system, the conduct of the press and police and false allegations generated as a result of media publicity. Journalists Richard Stott and Lynn Barber wrote that he had been over-harshly treated, although neither believed him innocent of the charges.
King served the first five months of his sentence in Belmarsh Prison, but was then sent to Maidstone Prison. In 2003, the Court of Appeal rejected his application to hear an appeal of both the conviction and the sentence. He was released on parole in March 2005. He appealed his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and the European Court of Human Rights, but without success. King remains on the Sex Offenders Register and is prohibited from working with anyone under the age of 18.
King has maintained an interest in prison issues and, since his release, has continued to write a column for Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners, which he began writing while he was in prison. In October 2011, then BBC Director-General Mark Thompson apologised to Jonathan King, following the removal of King's performance of "It Only Takes a Minute" from a 1976 episode of Top of the Pops that was repeated on BBC Four. However in 2016 repeats of the shows from 1982 appeared to have had his monthly American chart reports removed from them on BBC4.
Since his release from prison, King has produced several films, albums, and books. His creative output has been described as being, at times, "a primal scream of rage". In July 2007, King posted a video on YouTube, from his movie Vile Pervert: The Musical, of a song entitled "The True Story of Harold Shipman", which suggested that serial killer Harold Shipman had been a victim of the media. The song provoked an angry response from the relatives of Shipman's victims.
In May 2008, King posted for free download on the internet his 96-minute film, Vile Pervert: The Musical. King is the only actor in the movie and portrays 21 different roles. The Telegraph described it as an attempted justification of the events that led to his conviction and a "bizarre home-made film" about a television celebrity who was subjected to "malicious abuse allegations, in a fictional case that King clearly intends to represent his own demise". The Spectator's Rod Liddle called it "a fantastically berserk, bravado performance".
King has published two volumes of autobiography, Jonathan King 65: My Life So Far (2009) and 70 FFFY (2014). He has also published two novels under pseudonyms, Beware The Monkey Man (2010) as "Rex Kenny", and Death Flies, Missing Girls and Brigitte Bardot (2013) as "George King Kenneth". He has produced two films, Me Me Me (2011) and The Pink Marble Egg (2013). King says that he has made no money from his internet films.
On 9 September 2015, it was reported that King had been arrested as part of Operation Ravine, an investigation relating to claims of child sexual abuse at the Walton Hop Disco in the 1970s and 1980s.
In May 2016, the writer Bob Woffinden published his book, The Nicholas Cases, about the ten worst miscarriages of justice in the UK over the past thirty years, of which King's case was one chapter.
Credited as performer
(UK except where stated)
|1965||"Everyone's Gone to the Moon"||4||17||44||Decca (US: Parrot)|
|1966||"Just Like a Woman"||-||-||21||Decca|
|1966||"Where The Sun Has Never Shone"||-||97||-||(US: Parrot)|
|1970||"Let It All Hang Out"||26||-||-||Decca|
|1971||"Hooked on a Feeling"||23||-||-||Decca|
|1975||"Una Paloma Blanca (White Dove)"||5||-||-||UK|
|1978||"One for You, One for Me"||29||-||-||GTO|
|1979||"You're the Greatest Lover"||67||-||-||UK International|
|1971||"It's the Same Old Song"||19||Weathermen||B&C|
|1972||"Loop di Love"||4||Shag||UK|
|1974||"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"||29||Bubblerock||UK|
|1975||"Chick-A-Boom (Don't Ya Jes' Love It)"||36||53rd and 3rd featuring the Sound of Shag||UK|
|1976||"In the Mood"||46||Sound 9418||UK|
|1976||"It Only Takes a Minute"||9||One Hundred Ton and a Feather||UK|
|1978||"Lick A Smurp for Christmas (All Fall Down)"||58||Father Abraphart and The Smurps||Magnet|
|1965||"It's Good News Week"||4||Hedgehoppers Anonymous||Decca|
|1971||"Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers in the Air)"||12||St Cecelia||Polydor|
|1971||"Keep On Dancing"||9||The Bay City Rollers||Bell|
|1971||"Johnny Reggae"||3||The Piglets||Bell|
|1972||"Don't Let Him Touch You"||35||The Angelettes||Decca|
|1990||"The Brits 1990 Dance Medley"||2||Various Artists||RCA|
- King signed the band to his own publishing company and licensed the rights to Decca Records.
- At the time the offences were alleged to have been committed, the applicable legislation was the Sexual Offences Act 1967. Homosexual sex with a male under 21 was a criminal offence whether or not there was consent. However, if it was consensual and the alleged victim was 16 or over, he had to make a complaint within a year of the offence for a prosecution to succeed. In King's case, the alleged victim had brought the complaint 23 years after the alleged offence.
- Billboard. Books.google.co.ma. 9 September 1972. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Barber, Lynn (20 October 2002). "King and I". The Observer (London).
- Ronson, Jon (1 December 2001). "The fall of a pop impresario". The Guardian.
- Chalmers, Robert (22 April 2012). "Jonathan King: 'The only apology I have is to say that I was good at seduction'". The Independent on Sunday (London).
- King, Jonathan. "King of Hits". Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- For the brothers' names, see 65 My Life So Far, p. 6 and p. 10. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- "The rise and fall of a pop tsar". The Guardian (London). Press Association. 29 March 2005.
- Roberts, David (2006). Guinness World Records Limited, 19th edition. p. 302. ISBN 1904994105.
- Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Volume 4. p. 850. ISBN 0195313739.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 192. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Eder, Bruce. "Jonathan King". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. p. 249. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Jonathan King (IV)". IMDb. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- Larkin, Colin (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia Of 70s Music. p. 217. ISBN 1852279478.
- Hardy, Phil; Laing, Dave (1995). Da Capo companion to twentieth-century popular music. p. 520. ISBN 0306806401.
- Carruthers, Bob (2011). Genesis - The Gabriel Era - Uncensored on the Record. pp. 9–12. ISBN 978-1-908538-73-4.
- Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. p. 422. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0.
- Holm-Hudson, Kevin (2008). Genesis and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". p. 23. ISBN 0754661393.
- Eder, Bruce. "Genesis". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- Cohen, Claire (4 June 2009). "The Boll Weevils, the Beatals, The Arkansas Rollers - Now that's what I call music". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- Hombach, Jean-Pierre (2012). Phil Collins. p. 17. ISBN 1470134446.
- Holm-Hudson, Kevin (2008). Genesis and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". p. 24. ISBN 0754661393.
- Mike Rutherford interviewed by Dan Neer (1985). Mike on Mike (Vinyl, 12" Promo interview recording). Atlantic Recording Corporation. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
Jonathan King, for all his faults - he has a funny reputation in England - did give us a fantastic opportunity. Because in those days, in England, you couldn't get in the studio. I mean, now a new group can very easily get a chance to go and record a single, just something, you know, to show there's something going for them. In those days, to get any sort of record contract, was really magical. And he gave us a chance to do a whole record. You've got a bunch of musicians who were really amateur, could barely play well, were barely a group, and were able to go in one summer holiday and make a record.
- "Jonathan King to appear in BBC Genesis documentary". BBC News. 26 September 2014.
- "Who is Jonathan King?". The Guardian. 24 November 2000. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 429. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
- Torstar, Staff (22 August 2014). "Heard in Guardians of the Galaxy: What's with 'ooga chaka'?". Metronews. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Coy, Wayne (2005). Bay City Babylon: The Unbelievable But True Story of the Bay City Rollers. pp. 23–24. ISBN 1587364638.
- Coy, Wayne (2005). Bay City Babylon: The Unbelievable But True Story of the Bay City Rollers. pp. 24, 26–27. ISBN 1587364638.
- "UK Producer King Launches Own Label", Billboard, May 27, 1972, p.51
- "King Forms U.K. Records". Billboard (New York). 9 September 1972.
- "10CC". Snopes.com. citing Dolgins, Adam (1998). Rock Names: From ABBA to ZZ Top. pp. 254–255. ISBN 0806520469.
- Ankeny, Jason. "10cc". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Thompson, Dave (2002). The Music Lover's Guide to Record Collecting. pp. 465–467. ISBN 0879307137.
- "10cc - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
- Southall, Brian (2003). The A-Z of record labels. p. 276. ISBN 1860744923.
- Arkell, Harriet (21 November 2001). "Relentless ego of self-styled man". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- Epsom & Ewell Parliamentary Constituency - Election Results. Retrieved 20 January 2014
- Munro, Eden (25 March 2009). "Gogmagog" Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Vue (Edmonton, Alberta). Retrieved 29 December 2010. Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.[dead link]
- "Brit Awards 1987". Brits.co.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Jonathan King: 'My book's an online hit, millions click on my videos. How about lifting the media ban on me?'". The Independent. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Brit Awards". bbc.co.uk.
- Variety Staff (24 February 1991). "Brits’ O’Connor Jibe Sparks Row". Variety. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "About Gina G". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- "Why Eurovision needs to be saved from the BBC". The Spectator (London). 18 May 2013.
- "King's Tip Sheet to carry on". BBC News (London). 21 November 2001.
- "Tip Sheet stays online as mag closes doors". Music Week. 6 April 2002. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- Burrell, Ian (24 October 1997). "Blair goes loop di love over King". The Independent (London).
- Max Clifford played a crucial role in the conviction of Jonathan King. Now the roles have been reversed | Comment | Voices | The Independent
- Hall, Sarah (22 November 2001). "Victim's angry email led to downfall". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- O'Neill, Sean (22 November 2001). "The shameful private life hidden behind flamboyant self-publicity". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Jonathan King jailed for child sex abuse". The Guardian. 21 November 2001. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Clough, Sue; O'Neill, Sean (22 November 2001). "Pop veteran Jonathan King given seven years for abusing schoolboys". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Collier, Richard (2002). Masculinity, Law and Family. p. 94. ISBN 0415091942.
- "Jailed DJ King hits at 'unfair' legal system". The Telegraph (London). 21 November 2001.
- Rayner, Gordon (25 January 2012). "Leveson inquiry: Jonathan King claims his was miscarriage of justice victim". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Stott, Richard (26 December 2004). "Time to free King". Sunday Mirror (London).
It is always dangerous to force the morality of one age on that of another... Many pop stars of the 1960s and 1970s had sex with under-age groupies. The difference is most of them were girls... However distasteful we might find his behaviour, his sentence was savage and pandered to the lowest instincts of popular opinion.
- "British justice in the 21st century? Tear it up and start again… | insidetime & insideinformation". Insidetime.org. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Jonathan King's new evidence suggests an alibi during teenage sexual abuse case | Daily Mail Online
- "King loses appeal bid". BBC News. 24 January 2003. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Jonathan King told to 'shut up'". BBC News. 29 March 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "King abuse case 'to be reviewed". BBC News. 29 January 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Jonathan King launches appeal". Mail Online. n.d. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "The great leveller". The Guardian. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Topping, Alexandra (7 May 2008). "A newspaper, not a screws' paper". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "Jonathan King writes". Inside Time Newspaper. November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.[dead link]
- "BBC apology to Jonathan King after he is cut from repeat". The Daily Telegraph (London). 19 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Walker, Tim (28 November 2011). "Jonathan King: 'My book's an online hit, millions click on my videos. How about lifting the media ban on me?'". The Independent (London).
- Moore, Matthew (13 July 2007). "Jonathan King praises Shipman on YouTube". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Families' anger over Shipman song". BBC News. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Moore, Matthew (15 May 2008). "Jonathan King makes Vile Pervert: The Musical". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Liddle, Rod (22 October 2011). "The King strikes back". The Spectator blog. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "Rock 'N' Royalties (Part II)". popbitch.com.
- Sharp, Rob (12 May 2011). "Cannes Diary: From disgraced D-listers to ex-drug dealing singers, festival embraces them all". The Independent (London).
- "64th Annual Cannes Film Festival The Tree of Live Photocall Pictures". Monsters and Critics. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Wells, Dominic (20 May 2013). "Cannes Film Festival 2013: Marilyn Monroe, Lesbian Weddings, Nuns of the Future and Occupy Movement". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- George Bowden, "Jonathan King Spectator Piece Suggests Sir Edward Heath Wasn't Gay Because His Advances Were Spurned", The Huffington Post, 7 August 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015
- "Jonathan King arrested in child sex offences probe". BBC News. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 384. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 3". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 27 September 2014.