Mark Holden

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For the hockey player, see Mark Holden (ice hockey).
Mark Holden
Birth name Mark Ronald Holden
Born (1954-04-27) 27 April 1954 (age 62)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Genres Pop, rock
Occupation(s) Musician, actor, TV personality, barrister
Instruments Voice
Years active 1974–present
Labels EMI, Sony

Mark Ronald Holden (born 27 April 1954) is an Australian singer, actor, TV personality, record producer, songwriter and barrister. He was a pop star in the 1970s and had four top 20 hit singles, "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" (May 1976), "I Wanna Make You My Lady" (September), "Last Romance" (November) and "Reach Out for the One Who Loves You" (October 1977). Holden regularly appeared on national pop music show, Countdown. Holden is remembered for his clean-cut image, his white dinner suit and his penchant for handing out carnations to girls on the set of the popular television show Countdown – he was nicknamed 'The Carnation Kid'.[1][2] In the 1980s he worked as a songwriter in Los Angeles providing material recorded by Meat Loaf, Joe Cocker, Gladys Knight, Bob Welch and Steve Jones. He was one of three original judges on the TV series Australian Idol (2003–07) and the first season (2005) of The X Factor.


Early years[edit]

Mark Ronald Holden was born on 27 April 1954 to Helen (née King) and Ron Holden at Calvary Hospital, North Adelaide.[3] His father's family were involved with the Holden and Sloggetts Travelling Circus; although Ron became an architect and Helen was a teacher.[4]

Holden attended Westminster School in Adelaide.[4] While there he was "really encouraged to be a musician. I remember we were given a room under a stairwell to rehearse our band."[4] At the University of Adelaide he completed three years of a law course before leaving to pursue his music career.[4]

1974-1977: Music Career[edit]

In 1974, whilst studying law, Mark Holden was a contestant on the Channel Nine talent quest, Showcase.[4] He won and signed a record deal with EMI Music and issued his debut album Dawn in Darkness in 1975, in which Holden wrote or co-wrote all tracks..

From 1975 to 1976, Holden performed as Joseph in the first Australian production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Seymour Centre, Sydney. He was the first pop star in the world to play the lead role.

In May 1976, Holden released a cover of Eric Carmen's "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again". The song became a hit peaking at number 13 on the Australian Kent Music Report. He released "I Wanna Make You My Lady" in September and "Last Romance" in December, which both peaked at number 11. [1][5] Holden issued his second studio album, Let Me Love You. At the TV Week King of Pop Awards of 1976 he won Most Popular New Talent.[1]

In 1977, Holden released "Hey, My Love" in February which peaked at number 32, and "Reach Out for the One Who Loves You" in August, which peaked at number 17. Holden's third album Encounter was released in 1977. Both Let Me Love You and Encounter were each certified double gold for shipment of 50,000 copies.[1][5]

1976-1979: TV & Film[edit]

In 1976, Holden played the role of Greg Mason on the TV soap opera The Young Doctors.[1] In 1977, he starred in Blue Fire Lady and Newsfront and Reach for the Stars and Case for the Defence in 1978. [1]

A the Logie Awards of 1977, Holden won Most Popular Australian TV Teenage Personality and Best New Talent. He won Most Popular Australian TV Teenage Personality in 1978 also.

1980s & 90s: Music Producer in Los Angeles[edit]

In 1980, Holden relocated to Los Angeles. In 1983, he released his fourth studio album, Mark Holden on Casablanca Records. Holden began working as a songwriter and music producer.[1] He co-wrote two top ten hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the Temptations, "Lady Soul" (June 1986) and "Look What You Started" (1987).[6][7] There were also hits with Tracie Spencer, Joey Lawrence, Will Downing, a #1 dance hit with Kathy Sledge, and over 50 cover recordings of his songs from artists as varied as Belinda Carlisle, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, The Manhattans, Donny Osmond, José Feliciano, Fleetwood Mac, David Hasselhoff, Scarlett and Black and Branford Marsalis. He also developed and produced artists including Calvin Klein model and film star Milla Jovovich ('Chaplin', 'Blue Lagoon 2', 'Dazed and Confused', 'The 5th Element'), for EMI Records Group, New York. This led to her debut album; a US Top Ten Post Modern hit, it won critical raves including a 3 star review in Rolling Stone magazine.

For three years Mark worked with David Hasselhoff, producing and coordinating his albums, live promotion and musical projects for television, particularly in Europe where David enjoyed multi-platinum successes including the Top Ten hit in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 'Wir Zwei Allein Heut Nacht' ('Together alone tonight') which Mark wrote with David Hasselhoff.[8] Jeremy Jackson, the actor who played David Hasselhoff's son on Baywatch, was signed to Mark Holden's production company and had two hits in Europe including 'You Can Run' which was Top 5 in the Netherlands.

In 1999, Mark moved back to Australia, performed his show "100 Years of Australian Music" at the School of Arts Café in Queanbeyan and hosted the Silver Jubilee edition of Countdown.

2000-2002: Return to Australia & Marjac Productions[edit]

In 2000, his company Marjac Productions, with Transistor Music Australia and Universal Music Australia launched Vanessa Amorosi onto the Australian and international stage. Amorosi's debut album The Power peaked at number 1 and was certified 4 times platinum in Australia. MarJac Productions signed with Sony Music Australia and wrote songs for Delta Goodrem, Nikki Webster and Sophie Monk.

In 2002, Mark was honoured by This is Your Life.

2003-2007: Australian Idol & The X Factor Australia[edit]

In 2003, Holden was a judge on the Australian Idol, where he remained for five season. Holden executive-produced the 'Final 12' cast CD for Australian Idol which went double platinum and included the song "Rise Up" which he co-wrote with Vanessa Amorosi and peaked at number 1 on the ARIA Charts.[9] His phrase "Touchdown" became the highest form of accolade for the contestants. Cosima De Vito received the first touchdown, for her rendition of Cold Chisel's When the War Is Over. When De Vito scored the first touchdown, Ian Dickson said that he could not help but think that De Vito had been sent by another television network as a spy because she was everything the competition was about.

In 2003, Holden appeared in cameo acting roles on Kath & Kim. In 2004 Mark established Dream Dealers, his own Management, Music Publishing and Record Company. Dream Dealers immediately achieved success with first signing, Joel Turner and the Modern Day Poets. Their first single "These Kids" reached #1 on the ARIA Charts and achieved double platinum status. Their self-titled album was released in late 2004 was also certified platinum.

In 2004, Holden recorded a live DVD titled Live at the George Ballroom. The DVD was produced by Drew Thompson and released in 2005 as a DVD + CD through Thompson Music.[10]

In 2004, Mark's family group, The Holdens, released their first CD, "A Tribute to Tex Morton". The album featured songs made famous by the legendary country singer and showman.

In 2005, Holden appeared as a judge on the first season of The X Factor, along with John Reid and Kate Ceberano. The R&B group he mentored during the show, Random, went on to win, becoming the first (of three worldwide) group in the franchise to do so.[11]

In 2007, Holden featured in American TV network NBC's The Starter Wife with Debra Messing.

Holden's radio career includes co-hosting The Drive Home with Cal Wilson while regular host Akmal Saleh was sick. He also hosted the short lived show in 2007, The Dicko, Holden and Chrissie Show on Nova FM.

2008-present: Theatre, TV and autobiography[edit]

In early 2008, Holden played the role of Johnny O'Keefe's manager Lee Gordon in Shout! The Legend of The Wild One.

In 2010, he guest starred as Doctor Wallace in Season 5 of Sea Patrol, which aired in July 2011. From 2010-2011 he was a fill-in presenter of the weekday afternoon show on South Australia's 891 ABC Adelaide, where his focus has been on musical discussion. In early 2011 he has been fill in presenter of ABC Local Radio nationally. Mark is one of the regular fill-ins for Richard Stubbs on 774 ABC Melbourne. In early 2012 he was fill-in presenter for the nationwide ABC Local network show "Nightlife with Tony Delroy."

In 2014, Holden was a participant of Dancing with the Stars and was involved in high-profile controversy over his inappropriate on-air comments while wearing a clown costume. Holden subsequently apologised for his behaviour, and was voted out of the show.

in 2014, Holden honoured his family on a 5 part TV series called Holden Brothers Travelling Circus on the ABC. The series included footage from the 1950s and 60s. A CD/DVD was released and credited to The Holden Brothers Travelling Circus.[12]

In May 2017, Holden will released his autobiography, titled, My Idol Years. [13]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Anna, and has a son named Cane and a daughter named Katie.

Holden graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University in 2001, having studied law at the University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales in the early 1970s. In November 2009 he signed the Victorian Bar roll, reading with Barrister William Lye, and is now practising as a full-time barrister.[14]

He has suffered several bone fractures as a direct result of Osteoporosis,[15] and featured on an awareness ad on Channel 7. He also suffered from thyroid cancer in 2010. In September 2015 he announced that his cancer had returned.[16]

While interviewing Dick Smith on ABC Local Radio on 12 January 2012, Holden revealed that he decided to leave his long-time American home and return to Australia because of the inequities of life in the US. The tipping point for coming to this decision was reached when he witnessed a middle-aged, middle-class woman living in her station wagon, having lost her identity documents and having no access to any social service payments.

He is a long-time supporter of the Adelaide Football Club, and was made an ambassador of the Club in 2006.[17]



DVD/ Extended Play[edit]


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1976 Never Gonna Fall in Love Again 13 Let Me Love You
I Wanna Make You My Lady 11
Last Romance 11
1977 Hey, My Love 32 single only
Reach Out for the One Who Loves You 17 Encounter
Let's Go Dancing -
1978 First Thing in the Morning -
1979 Stay - single only
1983 For You 90 Mark Holden
Who Do You Love -
Alice -


  1. ^ a b c d e f g McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Mark Holden'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Mark Holden on Countdown web site
  3. ^ "Family Notices". The Advertiser. 96 (29,809). South Australia. 29 April 1954. p. 24. Retrieved 2 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Peter (3 May 2010). "Mark Holden – Transcript". Talking Heads. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  6. ^ "ASCAP – ACE Title Search". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Retrieved 3 June 2016.  Note: requires user to enter details, e.g. click on 'Writers' tab and enter 'Mark Ronald Holden', then select track title.
  7. ^ "The Temptations US albums/singles chart history". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Mark Holden at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ Mark Holden leaves Idol
  10. ^ "Live at the George Ballroom". Thompson Music. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "Teen, duo, country mum battle for X Factor". AAP. The West Australian. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Holden Brothers Travelling Circus (SIGNED COPY) by Various". Sanity. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "My Idol Years by Mark Holden". Angus Robertson. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  14. ^ Official website, Mark Holden LLB
  15. ^ "Mark Holden reveals he has osteoporosis". News website. News Ltd. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 

External links[edit]