Jonathan James "Jon" English (born 26 March 1949 in Hampstead, London) is an Australian rock singer, musician, actor and writer. English emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1961. He was an early vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Sebastian Hardie but left to take on the role of Judas Iscariot in the Australian version of the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar from May 1972, which was broadcast on television. English is also a noted solo singer, his Australian top twenty hit singles include "Turn the Page", "Hollywood Seven", "Words are Not Enough", "Six Ribbons" and "Hot Town".
English was acclaimed for his starring role in the 1978 Australian TV series Against the Wind – he won the TV Week Logie Award for 'Best New Talent in Australia'. He also co-wrote and performed the score with Mario Millo (ex-Sebastian Hardie). The series had international release, known as Mot alla vindar (1980) in Swedish, where both "Six Ribbons" and "Against the Wind" were released as singles, both singles and the soundtrack album peaked at #1 on the Norwegian charts; the first single, "Six Ribbons" and the album, peaked at #4 on the Swedish charts.
During 1983–85, English won four Mo Awards with three consecutive 'Entertainer of the Year' awards and a further 'Male Vocal Performer' in 1985. English has performed in Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore from 1984.Performances of Essgee Entertainment's productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan trilogy from 1994 to 1997 were broadcast on Australian TV, they were all released on VHS and subsequently on DVD
1949–65: early years
Jonathan James English was born in Hampstead, London 1949, to Sidney and Sheila English, with siblings Janet, Jeremy and Jill. Sheila had worked as a hospital worker, teacher and ambulance driver; Sidney was working in air cargo for KLM and was relocated to Sydney Airport. Sheila and the children followed, when the family emigrated to Australia in 1961 on RMS Orion with English turning 12 years old just before calling-in at Fremantle.Sidney had bought a house in Cabramatta, where English attended Cabramatta High School. Sidney was a self-taught piano player and dabbled with guitar and drums, he bought a guitar for the young Jon English. Janet took her younger brother to the Sydney Stadium to see The Beatles perform during their 1964 Australian tour.
1965–72: first bands
English's first rock gig occurred when his neighbour's band needed a guitarist, he was about 16 and mid-performance was called upon to do vocals, he sang The Beatles' "Twist and Shout". His earliest known band was Zenith in 1965, formed at Cabramatta High School, and according to English "they were crap". Next was Gene Chandler & the Interns, which included guitarist Graham Ford, drummer Richard Lillico, bass guitarist Peter Plavsic and English as vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Ford founded Sebastian Hardie Blues Band in 1967 with Lillico and new band members, they played R&B and soul covers but disbanded by early 1968. When Ford reformed the band later in 1968, he recruited English and Peter Plavsic again, and added Anatole Kononewsky on keyboards, and Peter's brother Alex Plavsic on drums. They had dropped the 'Blues Band' part to play more pop oriented music and were the backing band for legendary Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe during 1969. Covering songs from Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett they built a reputation in the Sydney pub scene. Also attending Cabramatta High School, but one year lower was Carmen Sora; Sora and English married in September 1969 when she was 19 and he was 20. In January 1972, English left Sebastian Hardie when he won the role of Judas Iscariot in the Australian version of Jesus Christ Superstar from May 1972. Sebastian Hardie were later joined by Mario Millo on vocals and lead guitar and Tovio Pilt on keyboards, by 1974 they had become Australia's first symphonic rock band and released Four Moments in August 1975, which was produced by English.