Jack Good was the man who revolutionised music on television. Good really brought rock ‘n’ roll to the teenage television audience in
Good was born in Greenford, Middlesex on 7 August 1931. He was involved in amateur theatricals, studied for a time at the London Academy of Music and Dance, dreamed of becoming a Shakespearian actor and when attending
In 1957 he went to work for the BBC and the music programme ‘Six-Five Special, produced by Josephine Baker. He talked her into letting him co-produce the shows with her and introduced more music, particularly featuring new performers such as Tommy Steele. The programme had twelve million viewers. He wanted more teenage appeal and less sports and general interest in the programme and was so frustrated at not having a free hand that he left his £18 a week job with the BBC to join ITV and launch ‘Oh Boy’, an exciting weekly rock ‘n’ roll show, based at the Hackney Empire. The series was a sensation and introduced performers such as Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Vince Eager and Dickie Pride, with vocal backing from the Vernons Girls.
‘Oh Boy’ was an exciting, fast-paced show that dazzled audiences, the first genuine rock ‘n’ roll show and one which actually presented rock ‘n’ roll in all its glory.
Apart from promoting British artists such as Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele and Adam Faith, he was the first to introduce American artists such as Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent to the British public. In fact, he was to completely change Vincent’s image. When he arranged to collect Vincent at
Good knew music, knew artists and when EMI were issuing Cliff Richard’s single ‘Schoolboy Crush’, it was Good who talked them into flipping the record and promoting the B side ‘Move It’, the record which established Cliff in Britain. Good also produced Billy Fury’s breakthrough album ‘The Sound of Fury’
Following ‘Oh Boy’, he launched another rock series in 1959, ‘Boy Meets Girl’, which helped to establish Marty Wilde and followed up the next year with yet another series, this time called ‘Wham!’
In 1960 he left for
Brian Epstein wanted him to produce a Beatles special, so he returned to
Good had wanted to become a serious actor but could only find bit parts in films and TV shows in America (Captain Henderson in ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, Sidney Cruikshank in ‘Run For Your Life’ and an auto salesman in ‘The Andy Griffith Show’), so he decided to return to rock ‘n’ roll and launched ‘Shindig’ for the ABC network in America. Apart from artists such as the Beatles, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers, he wanted to feature some of the brilliant black artists whose music he admired, but who had few outlets on American television. The station bosses battled with him to prevent this, but he threatened to report them to the Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy and they backed down. As a result he was the first to bring Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner to the screen and also promoted artists on the programme such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and the Miracles.
His major love was still the theatre and in 1968 he produced and wrote ‘Catch My Soul’ a rock version of ‘Othello starring Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago, which he staged in
In 1969 he returned to television with ‘33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee’, which he also wrote and produced. He was also to produce specials on artists such as Andy Williams and another television rock show featuring Ray Charles, Jethro Tull and the Nice
His life changed when he was the subject of a ‘This Is Your Life’ show on 18 March 1970. A former college tutor of his appeared and said “Jack Good could have done anything.” Good recalled, “I thought, ‘what have I done?’ I have destroyed and corrupted the youth of this country and corrupted myself too. I have failed because I have not done anything useful to improve people’s lives.”
Good then went to
Discussing his attitude to music on television in 1981, he said, “I hate light entertainment shows and I hate smart looking fellows in dinner jackets saying, ‘Good Evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to…blah, blah, blah…and it goes on!
“I just want Wham Bam De Boo Bop, Do Wop Bam Boo. Tutti Fruitti…then next number, next number…and bored with that…next number!”
He next moved to
In the Nineties, British actor Greg Wise portrayed Good in the
After living for many years in