MUSIC MATTERS - Remembering blues legend John Warwick and Hazel's Coventry home-coming - The Coventry Observer

10th Aug, 2022

MUSIC MATTERS - Remembering blues legend John Warwick and Hazel's Coventry home-coming

Coventry Editorial 2nd Sep, 2021

COVENTRY Music Museum Curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer.

Hazel is coming home

Coventry legend Hazel O’Connor is coming home. In the unique and spectacular setting of the Queen of Flanders speigeltent, at 9pm on September 19.

The award-winning singer-songwriter and Coventry treasure will be in the 2021’s City of Culture to perform her only show this year.

She will be joined by the whole shebang – namely the superb Subterraneans along with virtuoso sax player Clare Hirst (Bellestars, Communards, David Bowie) and the wonderful Sarah Fisher (Eurythmics) on keyboards and vocals.

Anyone who has seen Hazel live will know that they are in for a treat, and with the Subterraneans, on board be prepared for a mighty rock show from one of Coventry’s finest.

We are proud to have Hazel as one of our honorary patrons at the Coventry Music Museum.

Spanning a phenomenal 43-year career of composing and performing the world over, this special show is a melting pot of hallelujah moments alongside timeless favourites from the iconic film ‘Breaking Glass’ – all of which remain evergreen and even more relevant in our present times.

Yes, there will be Will You. Yes, there will be Decadent Days. Yes, there will be Big Brother and yes, there will be love and much more!

Above all it promises to be an unmissable night. Get your tickets at

RIP John Warwick

It’s so sad to report we have lost another great Coventry-born musician John Warwick. Here are some memories of the great man.

John was a big man with a big voice – a voice that was a treat to behold, full of character and yet always smooth on the ear, a prefect blues voice.

John was born on January 10 1949, and lived in Broomfield Road, Earlsdon, Coventry.

His fledgling association with the world of music began at school, with guitarist friend Roy Butterfield.

John said: “There used to be a youth club in Tile Hill.

“I was about 13 and I used to go down and watch and play the harmonica and sing a little with Roy who was a great blues guitarist, we started playing together as a duo in the local jazz clubs.”

From there, John joined the Earlsdon band The Rare Set and continued to learn his trade in The Ravens playing in and out of Coventry.

Time was right then for John to spread his wings and London was calling, and a nine-month stint in the Capital, saw him heavily involved with session work.

In 1968 John was a part of The Soul Express with a young named Pete Waterman often DJing at their gigs. He joined the Chris Jones Aggression.

“That never really went anywhere so I just went and sang with the house bands, doing popular songs, in clubs, Majorca, holiday camps and on cruise ships.

“I was living in Binley at the time, but I hated every minute of the playing, because this wasn’t the kind of music I wanted to play.

“In 1984, I went back to London once again and worked with Long John Baldry and later former Fleetwood Mac mega-guitarist Peter Green.”

John was finally playing the kind of music he loved, with real blues people. The next natural step was to form his own band, and that’s exactly what happened!

The John Warwick Blues Band were formed, and they picked up prestigious Blues awards in France and Belgium.

His French audience comes from his regular attendance at the Guernsey Liberation concerts.

John said: “We have done really well over there.”

I’ll leave the last words to BB King, who said: ”John Warwick is the best European blues singer I have ever heard.”

Enough said. He will be sadly missed.


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