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Jools Holland

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Jools Holland
Julian Miles Holland

(1958-01-24) 24 January 1958 (age 66)
  • Musician
  • composer
  • television presenter
  • bandleader
Years active1974–present
Christabel McEwen
(m. 2005)
Musical career
  • Piano
  • keyboards
  • vocals
LabelsEastWest, I.R.S. Records
Member of
Formerly ofSqueeze
YouTube information
Total views6,889,544[1]

Julian Miles Holland OBE DL (born 24 January 1958) is an English pianist, bandleader, singer, composer and television presenter. He was an original member of the band Squeeze and has worked with many artists including Marc Almond, Joss Stone, Jayne County, Tom Jones, José Feliciano, Sting, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, David Gilmour, Ringo Starr, Bono, Rod Stewart and Ruby Turner.

From 1982 until 1987, he co-presented the Channel 4 music programme The Tube. Since 1992, he has hosted Later... with Jools Holland, a music-based show aired on BBC2, on which his annual show Hootenanny is based.[2] Holland is a published author and appears on television shows besides his own. He regularly hosted the programme Jools Holland on BBC Radio 2. In 2004 he collaborated with Tom Jones on an album of traditional R&B music. He achieved his first UK number one album in 2024 with Swing Fever, a collaboration with Rod Stewart.

Early life and education[edit]

Holland was born on 24 January 1958 in Blackheath, South East London. At the age of eight, he could play the piano fluently by ear. By his early teens he was appearing regularly in many of the pubs in South East London and the East End Docks.[3]

Holland was educated at Shooters Hill Grammar School in southeast London, from which he was expelled for damaging a teacher's Triumph Herald.[4]


Holland began his career as a session musician. His first studio session was with Wayne County & the Electric Chairs in 1976 on their track "Fuck Off".[5]

Holland was a founding member of the British pop band Squeeze, formed in March 1974, in which he played keyboards until 1980, through its first three albums, the eponymous Squeeze, Cool for Cats and Argybargy, before pursuing his solo career.[citation needed]

Holland began issuing solo records in 1978, his first EP being Boogie Woogie '78. He continued his solo career through the early 1980s, releasing an album and several singles between 1981 and 1984. He branched out into TV, co-presenting the Newcastle-based TV music show The Tube with Paula Yates. Holland used the phrase, "be there, or be an ungroovy fucker" in one early evening TV trailer for the show, live across two channels, causing him to be suspended from the show for six weeks.[6] He referred to this in his sitcom The Groovy Fellers with Rowland Rivron.[citation needed] Holland also appeared as a guest host on MTV.

In 1983, Holland played an extended piano solo on The The's re-recording of "Uncertain Smile" for the album Soul Mining. In 1985, Squeeze (which had continued in Holland's absence through to 1982) unexpectedly regrouped including Holland as their keyboard player. Holland remained in the band until 1990, at which point he again departed to resume his solo career as a musician and a TV host.[citation needed]

In 1987, Holland formed the Jools Holland Big Band, which consisted of himself and for the show Gilson Lavis from Squeeze, which gradually grew and was renamed as Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.[7] In May 2022, it was a 17-piece orchestra and included singers Louise Marshall, Ruby Turner and Holland's daughter Mabel Ray, as well as his younger brother, singer-songwriter and keyboard player, Christopher Holland.[7]

Between 1988 and 1990 Holland performed and co-hosted along with David Sanborn during the two seasons of the music performance programme Sunday Night on NBC late-night television.[8] Since 1992, he has presented the music programme Later... with Jools Holland, plus an annual New Year's Eve Hootenanny.

In 1996, Holland signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records,[5] and his records are now marketed through Rhino Records.

Holland and his R&B Orchestra performing at GuilFest 2012

On 29 November 2002, Holland was in the ensemble of musicians who performed at the Concert for George, which celebrated the music of George Harrison. In January 2005 Holland and his band performed with Eric Clapton as the headline act of the Tsunami Relief Cardiff.[citation needed]

On BBC Radio 2 Holland regularly hosted the programme Jools Holland, a mix of live and recorded music and general chat, featuring studio guests, along with members of his orchestra.[9]

In March 2023, Jimmy Barnes announced the formation of supergroup The Barnestormers, featuring Barnes, Chris Cheney, Slim Jim Phantom, Jools Holland and Kevin Shirley. A self-titled album was released on 26 May 2023.[10]

Personal life[edit]

As a teenager, Holland lived with his grandparents,[11] which he mentioned anecdotally in a 2020 episode of Rhod Gilbert's Growing Pains.

Holland has a son, George, and daughter, Rose, with his former partner Mary Leahy.[12][13] On 30 August 2005, Holland married Christabel McEwen, his girlfriend of 15 years and daughter of artist Rory McEwen.[12][14] The couple have a daughter, Mabel, and McEwen has a son, Frederick Lambton, Viscount Lambton, by her former marriage to Ned Lambton, the 7th Earl of Durham.[13][15]

Holland lives in Westcombe Park, south east London, where he had his studio, Helicon Mountain, built to his design and inspired by Portmeirion, the setting for the 1960s TV series The Prisoner.[16] He also owns a manor house near the medieval Cooling Castle in Kent.[17][18]

He appeared on the cover of Railway Modeller magazine in January 2019.[19] In the attic of his house, Holland has spent ten years building a 100-foot (30 m) model railway. It is full of miniature buildings and landscapes that stretch from Berlin to London. He started with photographs and paintings from early 1960s London. According to The Daily Telegraph, "In the evenings, he builds some trains and buildings before switching on some music, pouring a glass of wine and switching on the trains to watch them move around the room."[20]

He received an OBE in 2003 in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, for services to the British music industry as a television presenter and musician.[21] In September 2006, Holland was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Kent.[22] Holland was appointed an honorary fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University at a ceremony held at Canterbury Cathedral on 30 January 2009.[23] On 1 February 2011 he was appointed honorary colonel of 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment.[24] Holland has been the President of the British Watch & Clock Makers Guild since 2018,[25] and an honorary liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers since 2019.[26]

In June 2006, Holland performed in Southend for HIV/AIDS charity Mildmay,[27] and in early 2007 he performed at Wells and Rochester Cathedrals to raise money for maintaining cathedral buildings.[28] He is also patron of Drake Music.[29]

Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at Guilfest 2012

A fan of the 1960s TV series The Prisoner,[16] in 1987 Holland demonstrated his love of the series and starred in a spoof documentary, The Laughing Prisoner, with Stephen Fry, Terence Alexander and Hugh Laurie.[16] Much of it was shot on location in Portmeirion, with archive footage of Patrick McGoohan. It featured musical selections by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magnum and XTC. Holland performed a number towards the end of the programme.

Holland was an interviewer for The Beatles Anthology TV project, and appeared in the 1997 film Spiceworld as a musical director.

In 2009, Holland commissioned TV series Bangla Bangers (Chop Shop) to create a replica of the Rover JET1 for personal use.


His 2007 autobiography, Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts, was BBC Radio 4 "Book of the Week" in the week beginning 8 October 2007 and was read by Holland.[30]


Charting and certified albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1996 Sex & Jazz & Rock & Roll 38
1998 The Best Of 90
  • UK: Silver
2000 Hop the Wag
  • UK: Silver
2001 Small World Big Band 8 23
  • UK: 2× Platinum
2002 SWBB Volume Two: More Friends 17 44
  • UK: Platinum
2003 Jack o the Green (SWBB Friends 3) 39
  • UK: Silver
2004 Tom Jones & Jools Holland 5
  • UK: Gold
2005 Swinging the Blues, Dancing the Ska 36
2007 Best of Friends 9
  • UK: Silver
2011 Finding the Keys – The Best Of 127[34]
2012 The Golden Age of Song 11[35]
  • UK: Silver
2015 Jools & Ruby 39[36]
2017 As You See Me Now (with José Feliciano) 24
2018 A Lovely Life to Live (with Marc Almond) 61
2024 Swing Fever (with Rod Stewart) 1


  • 1978 "Boogie Woogie '78" (EP)
  • 1981 Jools Holland and His Millionaires
  • 1984 Jools Holland Meets Rock 'A' Boogie Billy (US release only)
  • 1990 World of His Own
  • 1991 The Full Complement
  • 1992 "Together Again" (single with Sam Brown)
  • 1992 The A–Z Geographer's Guide to the Piano
  • 1994 Solo Piano
  • 1994 Live Performance
  • 1996 Sex & Jazz & Rock & Roll
  • 1997 Lift the Lid
  • 1998 Best Of
  • 1999 Sunset Over London
  • 2000 Hop the Wag
  • 2001 Small World Big Band
  • 2001 Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues
  • 2002 SWBB Volume Two: More Friends
  • 2003 Jack O the Green (SWBB Friends 3)
  • 2004 Tom Jones & Jools Holland
  • 2005 Beatroute
  • 2005 Swinging the Blues, Dancing the Ska
  • 2006 Moving Out to the Country
  • 2007 Best of Friends
  • 2008 The Collection
  • 2008 The Informer (with Ruby Turner)
  • 2008 "The Informer" (single with Ruby Turner)
  • 2009 "I Went By" (single with Louise Marshall)
  • 2010 Rockinghorse
  • 2011 Finding the Keys: The Best of Jools Holland
  • 2012 The Golden Age of Song
  • 2014 Sirens of Song (UK No. 25)
  • 2015 Jools & Ruby (with Ruby Turner)
  • 2016 Piano
  • 2017 As You See Me Now (with José Feliciano)
  • 2018 A Lovely Life to Live (with Marc Almond)
  • 2021 Pianola. Piano & Friends


Guest appearances[edit]

Year Album Artist Details Ref.
1977 The Count Bishops The Count Bishops Piano [38]
The Electric Chairs Wayne County & the Electric Chairs Keyboards [38]
1978 The Image Has Cracked Alternative TV Piano on "Viva La Rock 'n' Roll",
Moog synthesizer on "Alternatives"
1979 Dilemma Streetband Keyboards [38]
Thriller Eddie and the Hot Rods Keyboards [38]
1983 Soul Mining The The Piano on "Uncertain Smile" [38]
1985 Black and White Terraplane Organ [38]
1986 Deep in the Heart of Nowhere Bob Geldof Keyboards [38]
1988 Angst Chrome Molly Keyboards [38]
The Raw & the Cooked Fine Young Cannibals Piano on "Good Thing" [38]
Wolf Hugh Cornwell Piano on"Cherry Rare",
organ on "Dreaming Again"
1992 Mirmama Eddi Reader Piano, Hammond organ [38]
1994 Jewel Marcella Detroit Piano on "Detroit",
Hammond organ on "James Brown"
1996 Guilty Ruby Turner Piano [38]
Homage The Blues Band Piano, organ [38]
A Night in London Mark Knopfler Piano [38]
1997 Deuces Wild B. B. King Piano [38]
Heavy Soul Paul Weller Wurlitzer on "Golden Sands" [38]
1998 Anutha Zone Dr. John Hammond organ [38]
1999 Straight Up Leo Green Hammond organ [38]
2000 ReBoot Sam Brown Piano on "In Light of All That's Gone Before" [38]
2002 Brainwashed George Harrison Piano on "Between the Devil and the Deep
Blue Sea
2003 Frank Amy Winehouse Deluxe edition
Piano on "Teach Me Tonight" (live)
2004 Roll the Dice Big Town Playboys Piano [38]
Thank You Brother Ray The Blues Band Keyboards [38]
2005 A Hyperactive Workout for
the Flying Squad
Ocean Colour Scene Piano and Hammond organ on
"Waving Not Drowning"
2006 On an Island David Gilmour Piano on "The Blue" [38]
2007 Stardom Road Marc Almond Piano on "Backstage (I'm Lonely)" [38]
2011 Hold On Tight Solomon Burke and De Dijk Piano on "What a Woman" [38]
2015 Making Life Rhyme Lulu Piano [38]
Rattle That Lock David Gilmour Piano on "The Girl in the Yellow Dress" [38]
Suddenly I Like It Paul Jones Piano, Hammond organ [38]
2016 Soulsville Beverley Knight Featured on "Hound Dog" [38]
2017 Daylight The Selecter Piano on "Daylight" [38]
Life Love Flesh Blood Imelda May Piano on "When It's My Time" [38]
2020 Gospel Mica Paris Piano on "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" [38]
Royal Tea Joe Bonamassa Co-composer, piano on "Lonely Boy" [38]

Film and television[edit]

Current television programmes[edit]


  • "Rolling Stones": A Life on the Road (with Dora Loewenstein), Viking/Allen Lane (1998) (ISBN 0-670-88051-5)
  • Beat Route: Journeys Through Six Counties, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1998) (ISBN 0-575-06700-4)
  • Ray Charles: Man and Music, (with Michael Lydon), Payback Press (1999) (ISBN 0-86241-929-8)
  • Hand That Changed Its Mind, International Music Publications (2007) (ISBN 1-84328-645-9)
  • Barefaced Lies and Boogie-woogie Boasts, Penguin Books (2007) (ISBN 9780718149154)


  1. ^ a b "About Jools Holland". YouTube.
  2. ^ "BBC Later With Jools Holland". BBC. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Jools Holland | Official Web Site | About Jools | Biography".
  4. ^ Farndale, Nigel (19 November 2006). "A man in touch with his inner anorak". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "About Jools". Joolsholland.com. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  6. ^ "Laughing Policeman Wireless Society: History of Swearing". Laughingpoliceman.com. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Jools Holland | Official Web Site | About Jools | The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra". joolsholland.com. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  8. ^ Sunday Night episodes 104 (1988), 113 (1989), 114 (1989), 121 (1989)
  9. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Jools Holland - Episode guide". BBC. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  10. ^ "The Barnestormers Reveal Debut Album Details". Noise11. 10 March 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  11. ^ "Jools Holland: My family values". The Guardian. 2 June 2012.
  12. ^ a b Edge, Simon (28 June 2011). "Jools Holland rules". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  13. ^ a b "The Pied Piper of cool rubs shoulders with royalty yet still retains the common touch". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Musician Jools Holland and Christabel McEwen pose at their wedding at..." Getty Images. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Face of the Day". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  16. ^ a b c "About Jools – Biography – Official site". Joolsholland.com. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  17. ^ Dyer, Chris; Bird, Steve (17 March 2018). "Jools Holland wins battle over late night music from wedding venue neighbour". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Jools Holland in wedding venue noise row". Bbc.co.uk. 16 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Railway Modeller - January 2019". reader.exacteditions.com. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  20. ^ Horton, Helena. "Jools Holland reveals 100ft long model railway in his attic that he spent 10 years building". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  21. ^ "No. 56963". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 14 June 2003. p. 11.
  22. ^ Farndale, Nigel (19 November 2006). "A man in touch with his inner anorak". (Interview with Jools Holland). London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  23. ^ "Widdecombe, Holland and Underwood are appointed honorary fellows". Canterbury Christ Church University. 3 February 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  24. ^ "No. 59986". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 6 December 2011. p. 23310.
  25. ^ "who's who – The British Watch and Clock Makers' Guild". Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Jools Holland – Our New Honorary Liveryman". The Worshipful Company of Plumbers. 22 April 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  27. ^ [1] [dead link]
  28. ^ "Jools Holland To Play UK Charity Concerts". Easier.com. 25 January 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  29. ^ "Leaders in Music, Disability & Technology". Drake Music. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  30. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week, Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts, Greenwich". BBC. October 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  31. ^ [2] Archived 14 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Jools Holland | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  33. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography Jools Holland". charts.nz. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  34. ^ "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update: Chart Date 18 June 2011". Zobbel.de. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  35. ^ "Official UK Albums Top 100 – 22nd December 2012 | Official UK Top 40 | music charts | Official Albums Chart". Officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  36. ^ Copsey, Rob (11 December 2015). "Adele beats Coldplay to Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  37. ^ "Jools Holland - Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak "Jools Holland". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  39. ^ Lost UK TV Shows Search Engine: Jools' Holland's Happening 1990-1991 Archived 5 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Publisher: Kaleidoscope Publishing. Retrieved: 29 May 2015.
  40. ^ Lost UK TV Shows Search Engine: Jools' Holland's Happening (1991–1992) Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Publisher: Kaleidoscope Publishing. Retrieved: 29 May 2015.
  41. ^ "Virginia Astley". Virginiaastley.com. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2015.

External links[edit]