John William "Long John" Baldry (12 January 1941 – 21 July 2005) was an English-Canadian blues singer and voice actor. In the 1960s, he was one of the first British vocalists to sing the blues in clubs and shared the stage with many British musicians including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Before achieving stardom, Rod Stewart and Elton John were members of bands led by Baldry. He enjoyed pop success in 1967 when Let the Heartaches Begin reached No. 1 in the UK, and in Australia where his duet with Kathi McDonald You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' reached No. 2 in 1980.
Baldry lived in Canada from the late 1970s until his death. He continued to make records there, and do voiceover work. Two of his best-known voice roles were as Dr. Robotnik in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and as KOMPLEX in Bucky O'Hare & the Toad Wars.
John Baldry was born at East Haddon Hall, East Haddon, Northamptonshire, which was serving as a makeshift wartime maternity ward, on 12 January 1941, the son of William James Baldry, a Metropolitan Police constable and his wife, Margaret Louisa (née Parker); their usual address was recorded as 18 Frinton Road, East Ham.
His early life was spent in Edgware, Middlesex where he attended Camrose Primary School until the age of 11, after which he attended Downer Grammar School (now Canons High School). Baldry grew to 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), with his height being noticed as a baby, thus giving him his "Long" nickname during his childhood.
In the early 1960s, he sang with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, with whom he recorded the first British blues album in 1962, R&B from the Marquee. At stages, Mick Jagger, Jack Bruce and Charlie Watts were members of this band while Keith Richards and Brian Jones played on stage, although none played on the R&B at the Marquee album. When The Rolling Stones made their debut at the Marquee Club in July 1962, Baldry put together a group to support them. Later, Baldry was the announcer introducing the Stones on their US-only live album, Got Live If You Want It!, in 1966.
Baldry became friends with Paul McCartney after a show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in the early 1960s, leading to an invitation to sing on one of The Beatles 1964 TV specials, Around The Beatles.
In 1963, Baldry joined the Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Nicky Hopkins playing piano. He took over in 1964 after the death of Cyril Davies, and the group became Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Rod Stewart on vocals and Geoff Bradford on guitar. Stewart was recruited when Baldry heard him busking a Muddy Waters song at Twickenham Station after Stewart had been to a Baldry gig at Eel Pie Island. Long John Baldry became a regular fixture on Sunday nights at Eel Pie Island from then onwards, fronting a series of bands.
In 1965, the Hoochie Coochie Men became Steampacket with Baldry and Stewart as male vocalists, Julie Driscoll as the female vocalist and Brian Auger on Hammond organ. After Steampacket broke up in 1966, Baldry formed Bluesology featuring Reg Dwight on keyboards and Elton Dean, later of Soft Machine, as well as Caleb Quaye on guitar. Dwight adopted the name Elton John, his first name from Elton Dean and his surname from John Baldry.
Baldry was openly gay during the early 1960s when homosexuality was still criminalized and medicalised. Baldry supported Elton John in coming to terms with his own sexuality. In 1978 his album Baldry's Out announced his formal coming out, and he addressed sexuality issues on "A Thrill's a Thrill", a song on the L.P.
Bluesology broke up in 1968, with Baldry continuing his solo career and John forming a songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. In 1971, John and Stewart each produced one side of It Ain't Easy which became Baldry's most popular album and made the top 100 of the US album charts. Stewart and John would again co-produce his 1972 album Everything Stops For Tea which made the lower reaches of the US album charts.
After time in New York City and Los Angeles in 1978, Baldry settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he became a Canadian citizen. He toured the west coast, as well as the US Northwest. Baldry also toured the Canadian east.
Baldry had mental health problems and was institutionalised. The 1979 album Baldry's Out was recorded after his release. He played his last live show in Columbus, Ohio, on 19 July 2004, at Barristers Hall with guitarist Bobby Cameron. Baldry's final UK Tour as 'The Long John Baldry Trio' concluded with a performance on Saturday 13th November 2004 at The King's Lynn Arts Centre, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. The trio comprised of LJB, Butch Coulter on harmonica and Dave Kelly on slide guitar.
Baldry died 21 July 2005, in Vancouver General Hospital, of a severe chest infection. He was survived by his partner, Felix "Oz" Rexach, a brother, Roger, and a sister, Margaret.
- Dragon Warrior (1989-1991) - Narrator