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" (June 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, typically sporting a "clean-cut image, his white dinner suit and his penchant for handing out carnations to girls on the set." 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.[1] His father's family were involved with the Holden and Sloggetts Travelling Circus; although Ron became an architect and Helen was a teacher.[2]

Holden attended Westminster School in Adelaide.[2] While there he was "really encouraged to be a musician. I remember we were given a room under a stairwell to rehearse our band."[2] At the University of Adelaide he completed three years of a law course before leaving to pursue his music career.[2]

Acting career[edit]

Mark Holden was an actor on the TV soap opera The Young Doctors; he took the role of Greg Mason when it began in late 1976.[3] Feature film roles occurred in Blue Fire Lady and Newsfront (both in 1977).[3] He was the compère on Target (1975) and Reach for the Stars (1978).[3]

Holden won three Logies and performed for the Prince of Wales at the Sydney Opera House. He hosted the Silver Jubilee edition of Countdown as well as other appearances and hosting the TV pop music show. In 2007, he appeared in cameo acting roles on Kath & Kim, American TV network NBC's The Starter Wife with Debra Messing, and as an Immigration Detention Officer on SBS's Fat Pizza. In late 2010, he guest starred as Doctor Wallace in Season 5 of Sea Patrol, which aired in July 2011 on Channel 9.

Holden was a participant of Dancing with the Stars in 2014, 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.

Music career[edit]

Mark Holden was a contestant on the Channel Nine talent quest, Showcase, in 1974.[2] He signed a record deal with EMI, and issued his debut album, Dawn in Darkness in the following year. His top 20 hits on the Kent Music Report singles chart are "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" June 1976 – a cover version of Eric Carmen's original – "I Wanna Make You My Lady" (September), "Last Romance" (November) and "Reach Out for the One Who Loves You" (October 1977).[3][4] His next two studio albums, Let Me Love You (1976) and Encounter (1977), were each certified double gold for shipment of 50,000 copies.[3][4]

At the TV Week King of Pop Awards of 1976 he won Most Popular New Talent.[3] According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, 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'.[3][5]

He relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 where he worked as a songwriter and music producer.[3] 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. His company Marjac Productions, with Transistor Music Australia and Universal Music International, launched Vanessa Amorosi onto the Australian and international stage with ARIA's #4 album of the year 2000 – 'The Power' – and four hit singles in Australia. "Absolutely Everybody" has been #7 in the UK, #2 in Ireland, Top Five Germany (Gold), Austria (Gold) and Switzerland; and Top Ten in many other European and Asian countries. Vanessa's album 'The Power' was gold in GSA with 4 hit singles.

Mark's family group, The Holdens, released their first CD, "A Tribute to Tex Morton". This features songs made famous by the legendary country singer and showman. Tex was very much in the tradition of his forebears The Holden Brothers Circus who traveled with Tex and is Mark's way of paying homage to them and the way they entertained Australians over many decades from the late 19th century on. The group recently released another CD accompanied by a web series, The Holden Brothers' Travelling Circus, with music based on Holden's family circus.

In 2000 MarJac Productions signed with Sony Australia to consult for the Delta Goodrem project which reached #1 in Australia and Top 5 UK. Meanwhile, his songs continue to be recorded by Vanessa Amorosi, Nikki Webster (Top 20 Gold single "The Best Days"), Delta Goodrem and Sophie Monk.

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. The first single "These Kids" reached #1 on the Aria charts, staying in the top ten for over three months in which time it achieved double platinum status. Their self-titled album was released in late 2004 and was certified platinum. A number of other successful singles were also released from the album.

Australian Idol[edit]

In 2003, Holden was a judge on the Australian Idol television show. He executive-produced the 'Final 12' cast CD for Australian Idol which went double platinum and included the #1 song 'Rise Up' which he co-wrote with Vanessa Amorosi.[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.

Holden was awarded "Wanker of the Year" by men's magazine Ralph in 2003, and in response, wanted a trophy to show off his new title. He started up a petition on his own website to have it awarded to him. He mentioned it a few times on Idol, and Ralph considered naming the award after him. In this year's[when?] awards however, he came third, beaten by fellow Network Ten celebrities Rove McManus and Australian Idol presenter Andrew G. The magazine claimed that his attempt to claim a trophy for his honour was enough for them not to give him the award.

The X Factor[edit]

He also appeared as a judge on the first season of The X Factor in 2005 along with John Reid and Kate Ceberano. The R&B group he mentored during the show, Random, went on to win.


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


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.

He has also appeared regularly as co-host with Lindy Burns on 774 ABC Melbourne and has appeared on Melbourne radio 3AW as a fill in presenter. 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."

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.[10]

He has suffered several bone fractures as a direct result of Osteoporosis,[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Singles discography[edit]

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


  1. ^ "Family Notices". The Advertiser. 96 (29,809). South Australia. 29 April 1954. p. 24. Retrieved 2 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Peter (3 May 2010). "Mark Holden – Transcript". Talking Heads. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 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. 
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Mark Holden on Countdown web site
  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. ^ Official website, Mark Holden LLB
  11. ^ "Mark Holden reveals he has osteoporosis". News website. News Ltd. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links[edit]