25TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY O'KEEFE
On Monday 6th October 1978 the "THE WILD ONE", AUSTRALIA'S KING
OF ROCK AND ROLL and the FATHER OF THE AUSTRALIAN RECORD INDUSTRY passed
away. These words described the man who left an indelible mark on the Australian
music industry and set the scene for the Australian music industry that
we enjoy today. Australian's were stunned at the news of his death on October
6th 1978, but he left a wonderful legacy in the forms of such classic songs
as "Shout", She's My Baby", I'm Counting On You", and
"She Wears My Ring". JOK was a superstar and truly an Australian
Born John Michael O'Keefe in Sydney on 19th January 1935, into a musical family, Johnny O'Keefe's career took off in the mid to late 1950's when, together with American born Lee Gordon, he pioneer rock and roll in this country. Sharing the bill with the greatest names of the rock era, O'Keefe invariably blasted the overseas acts off the stages of stadiums right throughout the country with his frantic stage act, an act that earned him the title "The Wild One". His battle to ensure that radio stations gave Australian artists equal time to their overseas contemporaries is legendary. He gave Australians the opportunities to gain valuable experience on aussie television before heading overseas. Olivia Newton John, Helen Reddy and Peter Allen were prime examples of artists who benefited from his support. They in turn paved the way for today's artists to be accepted on their merits. All this at a time when we Australian's were very slow to recognise the wonderful talent that we had in our own backyard.
|To celebrate the life of JOK, Dr Alex Sandor Kolozsy now one of Australia's leading sculptors who lives in Sydney decided back in 2000 to pay homage to the wild one and commenced a daring project to build a 3.3 metre statue of the wild one. Alex who emigrated to Australia from Hungry back in the 60's wanted to repay his new found country for their kindness and friendship by planning a statue as part of the federation year. In his early years in this country he grew to love his new country and the music of JOK and the rock and roll era. After many promises from authorities in Sydney the project stalled and the clay shell of the statue was starting to deteriorate. The Wintersun Rock and Roll Festival that is based at Coolangatta Qld and attracts over 100,000 people to their festival each year heard of the problem and offered to assist. This festival is the largest rock and roll festival in the country and it is only fitting that the memory of JOK in the form of a 3.3 metre statue is celebrated within the festivals boundaries.||
Johnny O'Keefe Memorial Association was formed back in 2002 to protect,
preserve and promote the memory of Johnny O'Keefe. Their fundraising efforts
to finish this $100,000 project are now close to fruition with the statue
now finished at the sculptor's headquarters and awaiting final payment from
the association. We are seeking sponsorships from companies large or small
that would love to be part of Australian history. We are also offering 60cm
miniature JOK statues made of bronze that have a limited run of only 15
for collectors etc. These marquette statues are a collectors dream and will
grow in value as time goes on. They are for sale at $10,000 each and stand
on a granite base and have a letter of authenticity. A third of the sale
of each statue will be donated back to the JOK association to assist with
the fund rasing endeavours.
Attached are photos of the completed statue which stands 3.3 metres and will stand on a 1.8 metre granite base. This statue will stand as a tribute to the King of rock and roll in this country and the memory of the wild one will shine on forever in the hearts and minds of all Australians who remember the good times that this legend gave us all.
6TH OCTOBER 1978, THE KING OF AUSTRALIAN ROCK AND ROLL PASSES ON, LETS' DO OUR BEST TO REMEMBER HIM IN THE FUTURE
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE JOHNNY OKEEFE TRIBUTE STATUE THE FOLLOWING PERSONS CAN BE CONTACTED FOR COMMENT.
Chairman Johnny O'Keefe Memorial Association
Vice Chairman Johnny O'Keefe Memorial Association
Dr Alex Sandor
Kolozsy, sculptor, photos of statue can be arranged
John (Catfish) Purser, JOK's drummer, now resides on the Gold Coast, his details 0755396679 0418476549
For reference material visit www.johnnyokeefe.net