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Johnny Hates


Johnny Hates Jazz Bio

In 1987 Johnny Hates Jazz vaulted to international success following the release of their first hit single "Shattered Dreams".

The group consisted of singer-songwriter Clark Datchler (vocals, keyboards and guitar) and production team Calvin Hayes (keyboards, drums) and Mike Nocito (bass). Their tongue-in-cheek name referred to Mike’s brother-in-law Johnny, who hated jazz.

All three hail from musical backgrounds. Clark’s father Fred was a member of two chart- topping bands from the 1950s, the Stargazers and the Polkadots. Fred also sang backing vocals for the Beatles (I Am The Walrus and The Long And Winding Road) as well as for Frank Sinatra. Calvin is the son of the late Mickie Most, one of the world’s most successful record producers. Mike comes from an American family based in Europe with the US armed forces. His mother was a singer in close-harmony group The Cactus Kids, performing for troops in Northern Europe.

This musical lineage paved the way for their future careers. Clark released his first single at the age of seventeen on London indie soul label Bluebird Records. He was then produced by Visage’s Rusty Egan and went on to be signed to Warner Brothers Music as a songwriter. Calvin was a founder member of the band Hot Club (with Sex Pistol’s Glen Matlock) and also ran the A&R Department at RAK Records. Mike was a highly-regarded recording engineer, working with artists such as Pink Floyd, The Police, The Cure and Duran Duran.

The trio met in the early 80s whilst working on various projects at RAK Studios in London, and became firm friends. In 1983 they released a single on RAK Records. After Hot Club performed at London’s Marquee Club, Mickie Most signed Clark to RAK as a solo artist. It was he who suggested that Clark work with a young producer/engineer at RAK Studios, Mike Nocito. Over the coming years, Clark and Mike recorded together extensively with Mickie overseeing Clark’s development as a recording artist.

In late 1985 Mike and Calvin began work on a song called Me And My Foolish Heart with Mike’s long-time friend and fellow-producer, Phil Thornalley. Clark was invited to sing lead vocals on the recording, and so Johnny Hates Jazz was born. The song became the band’s first single and was released on RAK in April 1986. It gained substantial airplay and was Sounds magazine’s record of the week, however it was not a commercial success.

Clark began to write new songs for the band, the first of which was Shattered Dreams. His father Fred listened to the song as it was being written, and predicted it would be a hit. JHJ performed a showcase at London’s legendary jazz venue, Ronnie Scott’s, and were subsequently signed to Virgin Records. Shattered Dreams was released by Virgin in 1987, and sure enough, the international success of the record catapulted the band towards a blitz of non-stop promotion. Shattered Dreams went on to become a worldwide hit, going Top 5 in the UK, mainland Europe, Australasia and Asia, and reached #2 in Japan.

In the summer of 1987 their follow-up I Don’t Want To Be A Hero, a dance track with an anti-war sentiment, consolidated their chart success. Their next single Turn Back The Clock, featuring Kim Wilde on backing vocals, was released in November, rounding off a highly successful year.

JHJ’s debut album Turn Back The Clock was released in 1988, topping charts worldwide. It entered the UK album chart at #1, quickly achieving double Platinum status. The following month they scored their fourth hit single from the album titled Heart Of Gold. That same year, JHJ achieved further success when Shattered Dreams reached #2 on the American Billboard chart and #1 on the AOR chart. The monochrome video, directed by highly acclaimed Hollywood film director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Benjamin Button), was heavily rotated on MTV.

The US follow-up I Don’t Want To Be A Hero went Top 40 in late 1988. The following year the third US single Turn Back The Clock reached #1 on the US Adult Contemporary chart and gained more than 1 million plays. To date, the Turn Back The Clock album has sold over 4 million copies, and in 2010, Clark received a BMI award celebrating Shattered Dreams achieving over 3 million US broadcast performances….and counting!

Yet despite the band’s rapid rise to success, Clark decided to part ways with Mike and Calvin at the end of 1988. It was a difficult separation, leaving everyone with the feeling that not all was said and done, and that in time, they would find each other once more. After leaving, Clark recorded two solo albums entitled Fishing For Souls and Tomorrow. In the process, he worked with such highly-regarded musicians as Nathan East (Eric Clapton), JR Robinson (Chaka Khan), David Rhodes (Peter Gabriel) and Phil Gould (Level 42). The digitally re-mastered versions of these albums have just been released.

Mike and Calvin recorded a further album under the JHJ banner titled Tall Stories, featuring Phil Thornalley on vocals. They then went on to achieve behind-the-scenes success, writing and producing for Hepburn, Gina G, Chrissie Hynde, Orson and Katrina & the Waves (1997s Eurovision Song Contest winner, Love Shine A Light) among others. Finally, at the close of 2009, Clark, Mike and Calvin decided to re-launch JHJ as the original line-up. They are currently working on a new album, being the long-awaited sequel to Turn Back The Clock. At the same time, they have begun to perform in different parts of the world and are rehearsing for future shows.

It is a testament to the enduring appeal of Johnny Hates Jazz that, twenty years after their initial success, their music still receives a huge amount of airplay the world over. And, with a new album on the way, that trend is set to continue….