|Jools Holland, OBE DL was born Julian
Miles Holland on January 24, 1958 in Blackheath, south-east
At the age of eight, he could play the piano fluently
by ear, and by the time he reached his early teens he
was proficient and confident enough to be appearing
regularly in many of the pubs in South East London and
the East End Docks.
At the age of 15, Jools was introduced to Glenn Tilbrook
Difford; together they formed Squeeze,
and shortly afterwards they were joined by
(who had already played with, among others, B.B. King, Chuck
Berry, and Max Wall) who still drums with Jools.
Up The Junction and Cool For Cats gave Squeeze
meteoric success and their popularity rapidly extended
to America, where their tour included performances at
New York's Madison Square Garden.
In 1987, Jools formed The Jools Holland Big Band
comprising himself and Gilson Lavis. This has
gradually metamorphosed into the current 20-piece Jools
Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, which
consists of pianist, organist, drummer, three female
vocals, guitar, bass guitar, two tenor saxophones, two
alto saxophones, baritone saxophone, three trumpets,
and four trombones.
Jools and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra play to audiences
in excess of 300,000 each year.
As well as formidable live performances, Jools has maintained
a prolific recording career since signing to Warner Music
in 1996, which includes the multimillion selling Jools
Holland and Friends series. Notable 'friends' have
included Sting, Chrissie Hynde, George Harrison, Norah
Jones, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Bono, Joe Strummer,
KT Tunstall, Robert Plant, Smokey Robinson, Sugababes,
Ringo Starr, Peter Gabriel, Solomon Burke, and many more.
A big fan of the cult 1960's show The Prisoner,
Jools' inspiration for Helicon Mountain the studio
complex he designed and built was Portmeirion,
the setting for the TV series. Jools demonstrated his
love of the series by starring in a spoof documentary,
The Laughing Prisoner, with Stephen Fry, Terence
Alexander, and Hugh Laurie, in 1993.
Jools' career as a television presenter has run parallel
to his musical career. He started in the early 1980s
when he interviewed The Police for a documentary that
was made while they were recording at George Martin's
Montserrat studio. Jools then auditioned to become co-presenter
(with Paula Yates) of The Tube, which achieved
almost immediate cult status and discovered a whole
new generation of musicians and comedians between 1981
and 1986. Jools also managed to secure a rare interview
with Miles Davis, which was broadcast on November 14, 1986.
In two subsequent documentaries Walking to
New Orleans in 1985 and Mr Roadrunner in
1991 Jools unearthed some of the roots of American
music, which led him to talk to (and play with) many
of his heroes, including Fats Domino, Dr. John, and
In 1988, Jools wrote a six-part series with Roland Rivron,
The Groovy Fellas, about a Martian visiting Earth.
Between 1988 and 1990, Jools performed in and co-hosted
(with David Sanborn) two seasons of an acclaimed music
performance programme, Night Music, on NBC.
After presenting two series of Juke Box Jury in
1989 and then 26 shows of The Happening in 1990,
Jools was asked in 1992 to host a new music programme
for BBC2, which combined his talent and experience as
a musician with his skills as a TV presenter. This was
with Jools Holland. The show has reawakened the
innovative spirit of The Tube, and concluded its
43rd series in November 2013.
Other television programmes include: Name That Tune;
Don't Forget Your Toothbrush; Beat Route;
Jools Meets The Saint; and, in 2002, Jools'
History Of The Piano. Jools also conducted the interviews
for the definitive Beatles Anthology and the
Rolling Stones Biography.
He also appeared in the 1997 film Spice World as
a 'Musical Director' and, on 31st December 1999, performed
at the New Year's Eve Millennium Dome opening ceremony
in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, HRH The Duke
of Edinburgh, and various luminaries.
Jools' achievements were formally recognized in June
2003, when he was awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday
The 2004 UK tour kicked off with a star-studded concert
at the historic Royal Albert Hall, donating all proceeds
to the Teenage
Cancer Trust. Later that year, he collaborated
with Tom Jones on an album of traditional R&B music.
The album, which was recorded at Jools' Helicon Mountain
studio with Laurie Latham, entered the UK Album Charts
at Number 5.
In January 2005, Jools and his band performed with Eric
Clapton as the headline act of the Tsunami Relief
Concert in Cardiff.
Jools married Christabel McEwen in August 2005 and,
the following month, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant
In March 2007, Jools played two very special charity
concerts, at Wells Cathedral and Rochester Cathedral,
to raise funds for the upkeep of cathedrals throughout
the British Isles and highlight the beauty of these
historic buildings and the music within them. At the
heart of these charity concerts was a new setting of
the Mass, composed by Jools and commissioned by the
Bishop of Bath and Wells. The new Mass was performed
exclusively in the two cathedrals.
Jools' colourful autobiography, Barefaced Lies &
Boogie-Woogie Boasts, hit the shelves on October
4, 2007 (published by Michael Joseph Ltd.); the paperback
was published in the summer of 2008.
2009 saw the collaboration between Jools & his Rhythm
& Blues Orchestra with Eddi Reader on tracks for (and
a cameo role in) the movie Me & Orson Welles,
starring Claire Danes (Romeo & Juliet, Homeland) and
Zac Efron (High School Musical, The Lucky One). Available
on DVD, it was directed by Richard Linklater (School of
Rock, Dazed & Confused). Jools and the Orchestra with
Eddi Reader perform Let's Pretend There's A Moon,
I Surrender Dear, and You Made Me Love You (I
Didn't Want To Do It) on the Soundtrack album (Decca/Universal
One of Jools' personal 2010 highlights was the Sony Radio
Academy Silver Award for 'Best Specialist Music Programme'
presented to his highly-acclaimed and eclectic BBC Radio
2 show. That year saw an even more prestigious achievement:
the Sony Gold award for 'Music Broadcaster Of The Year'.
The show has been running for 13 years; a new series started
in September 2013.
He also took on the very challenging role of Music Curator
for Prince Charles' September 2010 green initiative START,
a festival in the heart of London to raise awareness on
all environmental issues. Jools graced the event with
a special performance.
On 15th November of the same year, Rhino UK released Rockinghorse,
a 19-track collection of classic Jools Holland compositions,
interpretations and covers, followed in June 2011 by Finding
The Keys: The Best Of Jools Holland, comprising 20
songs, all personally selected by Jools himself.
Jools also had the privilege of being part of the stellar
line-up at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert, set
against the spectacular backdrop of Buckingham Palace,
on June 4th.
A brand new studio album with the Rhythm & Blues
Orchestra and hosting some very special guests, was released
on Monday 3rd December 2012. The Golden Age Of Song
is a collection of brand new recordings of classic songs
and five live recordings from the BBC Two TV Show Jools'
Annual Hootenanny. It features the extraordinary
talents of Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, Cee Lo Green, Florence
Welch, Paul Weller, Paloma Faith, Lily Rose Cooper,
Tom Jones, Rumer, James Morrison, Paolo Nutini, Joss
Stone, Mick Hucknall, Caro Emerald, Ruby Turner, and
As always, Jools continues to dazzle audiences across
the UK with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and their
exuberant live performances. The current Autumn/Winter UK Tour
features pop superstar Melanie C.