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Australian History

January 19, 1935 – Birth of Johnny O’Keefe, Australian singer-songwriter


Johnny O'Keefe

Johnny O’Keefe

John Michael O’Keefe was an Australian rock and roll singer, born in Bondi Junction on January 19, 1935.

His career began in the 1950s. Some of his hits include “Wild One” (1958), “Shout!” and “She’s My Baby”.

In his twenty-year career, O’Keefe released over fifty singles, 50 EPs and 100 albums. O’Keefe was also a radio and television entertainer and presenter

Often referred to by his initials “J.O.K.” or by his nickname “The Wild One”, O’Keefe was the first Australian rock n’ roll performer to tour the United States, and the first Australian artist to make the local Top 40 charts.

He had twenty-nine Top 40 hits in Australia between 1958 and 1973.

O’Keefe was the younger brother of Australian jurist Barry O’Keefe (a former head of the New South Wales ICAC).

His father, Alderman Ray O’Keefe, was Mayor of Waverley Council in the early 1960s. Through Barry, O’Keefe was the uncle of Australian television personality Andrew O’Keefe.

Johnny O’Keefe died on October 6, 1978 from a drug overdose.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

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