John died in Frimley Park Hospital at 10.30am on Friday 25 May 2007 after developing an infection. He had been suffering
from a rare bone marrow disease which had completely wiped out his immune system. He was a
wonderful friend and we shall miss him so much.
John, whose wonderful voice was a crowd puller wherever he went, joined the Leeds band, The Cherokees in 1962. He had many other offers
from bands iin the area but chose the Cherokees because he said their lead guitarist (Tez Stokes) was the only one at the time who could play the solo in Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy."
He loved the blues and was an ardent Ray Charles fan. His musical taste included 1940s close harmony groups, 1950s singers and country and
western music from the early days.
But the love of John's life was Rock ‘n’ Roll, the early numbers having a very special place in his affection. He was a devoted Everly
Brothers' fan and up to a few weeks before he died was singing in perfect close harmony, their favourite Everly numbers with fellow band member, Leeds born Peter Morrison.
He came south in the early 70s and has been a much admired figure on the Surrey and Hampshire musical scene since then. In the
late 70s/early 80s with Dave Bower and Pete Morrison, he toured the folk clubs of Britain as BMW, a close harmony group performing their own acoustic originals with Howard
"Good Rocking Tonight"
Tez & John's Elvis Night at the Bat & Ball 1998
On an unforgettable Sunday evening at their local the Bat & Ball in Farnham, in March 1998 John and Tez did an
Elvis tribute - "Good Rocking Tonight". The place was absolutely packed and unknown to most of the audience, it was John's debut gig as a singer/guitar player. For JWK he was somewhat nervous: that
is until Tez's first notes of the "Mystery Train" riff and then he was off in true Woollard style. Tez's Scotty Moore guitar playing was the perfect backing for John's voice, just right
for the early Elvis rocking numbers. The maxim for the evening's playlist was - nothing after "Wooden Heart"!!
John was born in the Headingly area of Leeds on 29 September 1942 to Kirby and Annie when his father was a rear gunner for
Bomber Command. His sister Barbara and brothers Don, Roy and David survive him. On leaving school in 1958, he joined the family construction company resuming his building work after his professional
musical career from 1962 to 1967 and continuing until illness prevented it in February 2007.
Mo & Tez first met John and his then girlfriend Janett in 1961 and have been close friends since then. He has left a
great empty space in their lives and also the lives of all those who held him dear. Pictured above are NYPL at Farnham Music Day in 2006.
John first met his wife Janett when they were at school. They married in 1964. Janett and their two daughters Linzi and Vikki survive
JOHN KIRBY WOOLLARD - SINGER & FRIEND EXTRORDINAIRE
29 Sep 1942 to 25 May 07
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