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Jonathan King (born Kenneth George King, 6 December 1944) is an English singer, songwriter, impresario, and producer. He came to prominence as a Cambridge University undergraduate in 1965 when he wrote and sang, "Everyone's Gone to the Moon," and went on to become an executive and media entrepreneur, writing and producing material for a number of artists.


King was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2001 after being convicted of sexually assaulting five teenage boys, aged 14 to 16, between 1983 and 1989. He was refused permission to appeal in January 2003 by the Court of Appeal in London, and was released on parole in March 2005. As of February 2008, a further appeal was reported to be before the European Court of Human Rightsmarker. King has maintained his innocence, arguing that he was unable to defend himself adequately because of the length of time that had passed since the incidents.

Early life and education

Born in London to an American father and English mother, King was educated at Charterhouse Schoolmarker (with Max Hastings and Jonathan Dimbleby) and Trinity College, Cambridgemarker, where he graduated with an M.A. in English literature. His first record purchase was 'Singing the Blues' by Guy Mitchell.

Career

1960s and 1970s

As an undergraduate, he wrote and sang his first hit, "Everyone's Gone to the Moon", in 1965 which sold over 4 million copies and was a worldwide hit. Before graduating, he wrote and produced further hits such as "It's Good News Week" by Hedgehoppers Anonymous and later "Johnny Reggae" by The Piglets, and also discovered, named and produced Genesis, whose founding members had also been at Charterhouse and whom he named to commemorate the start of his production career. Soon after graduating, his Saturday evening ITV series Good Evening; I'm Jonathan King, was broadcast nationally for six months.

Under various different names he performed and produced a large number of songs. Among these were "Let It All Hang Out" (a cover of the 1967 track by The Hombres), "It Only Takes A Minute" (a cover of the Tavares track), "Sugar, Sugar", "Loop di Love", "Hooked on a Feeling" (a cover of the track by B J Thomas), "Lazybones", "It's The Same Old Song" (originally by The Four Tops) and "The Sun Has Got His Hat On". He produced such hits as "Leap Up And Down Wave Your Knickers In The Air" for St Cecilia and also the Bay City Rollers; singing backing vocals on their first hit, "Keep on Dancing". He was one of the investors of the London production of the play The Rocky Horror Show and recorded the original cast album.

His own record label, UK Records had dozens of hits with artistes such as 10cc, whom he also named, Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs "Seaside Shuffle", Roy C "Shotgun Wedding", Carl Malcolm with "Fattie Bum Bum", The First Class with "Beach Baby", Lobo "Baby I'd Love You To Want Me", and many others, sometimes three or four on the charts at the same time. King frequently performed under pseudonyms such as "Shag", "Sakkarin", "Bubblerock", "100 Ton and a Feather" and "Nemo", although, in 1975, a rendition under his own name of "Una Paloma Blanca" was named Record of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards.

In April 1978, standing under his real name (Kenneth George King) as a Royalist candidate he polled 2,350 votes (5.3%) in the Epsom and Ewell by-election.

1980s and 1990s

King moved on from the music industry in the 1980s, to further his involvement in television and radio. He presented a daily talk show on New York's WMCA radio from 10-12 weekday mornings throughout 1980 and 1981 and regularly reported from the US on Top of the Pops.A spinoff series, Entertainment USA, was very successful on BBC Two, getting over 9 million viewers. He also created the Youth TV show No Limits which topped the BBC ratings. King wrote a page in The Sun for eight years called 'Bizarre USA' and his criticism of Band Aid and Live Aid provoked 18,500 letters in one day. He wrote regular features in many other newspapers and magazines. King also completed two published novels, Bible Two and The Booker Prize Winner. He continued some music projects, including the bizarre supergroup project "Gogmagog" with ex members of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Whitesnake and other classic rock bands.

In 1987, he accused the Pet Shop Boys of plagiarising the melody of Cat Stevens's 1970 song Wild World for their UK #1 single It's a Sin. King also released his own cover version of Wild World as a single, using a similar musical arrangement to It's a Sin, in an effort to demonstrate his claims. The single flopped, while Pet Shop Boys sued King, winning out-of-court damages, which they donated to charity.

King wrote and hosted the BRIT Awards for BBC Television in 1987. After 1989's uninspired Samantha Fox/Mick Fleetwood production, he took over and wrote and produced them from 1990-1992.He produced A Song For Europe, the BBC quest for a Eurovision Song Contest winner.The 1996 entrant by Gina G, "Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit", went to number one in the UK Singles Chart, and the 1997 entry by Katrina and the Waves', "Love Shine a Light", won the contest.

He is also responsible for the concept and format of the Record of the Year shows on British television, regularly shown in December, which continue online. At the end of the Thatcher government, he released "We Can't Let Maggie Go"; it did not chart.

In 1993, he founded The Tip Sheet, a music weekly publication, which also continues online as a message board discussing and promoting unknown and unsigned musical acts. In 1995/1996 he hosted the 10-12 daily show on Talk Radio in the UK, now TalkSport.In 1997 he was awarded the BPI Man Of The Year Award in a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotelmarker 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."

King was also an early fan of the Harry Potter books, releasing a tribute CD in 1999.

2000s

In 2007 he released a collection of mainly new songs, entitled Earth to King. One of these attracted criticism in July 2007, because it was seen as defending the world's most prolific serial killer Dr. Harold Shipman. In May 2008, he released a full length "comedy documentary" feature called, "Vile Pervert: The Musical," which includes 21 characters all portrayed by King.

Conviction and imprisonment

In November 2000, King was charged with sexual offences dating back to the early 1970s. After the case attracted publicity, several more men came forward with complaints, and further charges were laid. Following a trial in September 2001, he was convicted and received a seven-year prison sentence for four indecent assaults against 14 and 15 year old boys, and two offences of buggery and attempted buggery against two boys of 14 committed between 1983 and 1989. He was released on parole in March 2005, halfway through the sentence.

On his release he stated his intention to return to the music and entertainment industries. An appeal against the convictions has been reported to be before the European Court of Human Rightsmarker.

References

  1. Eder, Bruce. “Jonathan_King” at allmusic.com, 2009 Macrovision Corp, 2009, accessed 18 June 2009
  2. Ronson, Jon, The fall of a pop impresario, The Guardian, 1 December 2001.
  3. Jonathan King jailed for child sex abuse, The Guardian, November 21, 2001; Barber, Lynn. The King and I, The Observer, October 20, 2002.
  4. King loses appeal bid, BBC News, January 24, 2003.
  5. Silver, James. Convicted Sex Pervert Jonathan King Protests His Innocence, Sky News, February 27, 2008; also see Jonathan King wins right to appeal to Europe over his convictions for sexual assaults on teenage boys, Daily Mail, November 10, 2007.
  6. Jonathan King found guilty of abuse, Press Assocation, November 21, 2001.
  7. Scotland on Sunday; No Relation 1 March 1998
  8. Metzer, Greg (2008). “Rock Band Name Origins: The Stories Of 240 Groups And Performers”. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0786438185. Accessed as: Cohen,Claire. “The Boll Weevils, the Beatals, The Arkansas Rollers - Now that's what I call music”. Daily Mail, 4 June 2009. Retrieved on 18 June 2009
  9. O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest — The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007 ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  10. Evening Standard report
  11. Jonathan King jailed for child sex abuse, The Guardian, 21 November 2001.
  12. Jonathan King freed, The Guardian, 29 March 2005.


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