Johnny Hates Jazz

Johnny Hates Jazz are a British band, currently consisting of Clark Datchler (songwriter, vocalist, keyboards) and Mike Nocito (guitarist, bassist, producer, engineer). In April 1987, they had international success with their first hit single “Shattered Dreams”.

Both Datchler and Nocito were born into musical families. Datchler’s father, Fred, was a member of two chart-topping bands from the 1950s. The Stargazers had the distinction of being the first British band to reach No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. As part of the Polkadots, Fred Datchler sang backing vocals for The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Petula Clark. Nocito hails from an American family, based in Europe with the United States armed forces. His mother was a singer in a close-harmony group called The Cactus Kids, performing for troops throughout Northern Europe.

Having been a singer, guitarist and keyboard player in numerous bands as a teenager, Datchler released his first single on the London independent record label, Bluebird Records at the age of 17, backed by members of reggae band Aswad. He went on to work with Rusty Egan of Visage, fusing electronic music with soul, and performed often on the London club scene. He was subsequently signed to Warner Brothers Music as a songwriter and moved to Los Angeles, United States.

Nocito was a guitarist in school bands, having grown up alongside friend and fellow record producer, Phil Thornalley, as well as members of Katrina and the Waves. He became a recording engineer and worked with Pink FloydThe PoliceThe CureDuran Duran and the Thompson Twins.

They two met in 1982 at RAK Studios in London. Datchler had just become lead singer in the band, Hot Club, alongside the third and final original JHJ member, Calvin Hayes. The line-up also included bass player Glen Matlock and guitarist James Stevenson. In 1983, Hot Club released a single on RAK Records and performed at London’s Marquee Club, a performance that impressed RAK head (and Hayes’ father), Mickie Most. He decided to sign Datchler to the label as a solo artist. It was Most who suggested that Datchler work with Nocito, who was an engineer at RAK Studios at the time. Over the next four years, the two worked together on Datchler’s solo recordings. Most also guided Datchler, producing several of his recordings in the mid-1980s.

In April 1986, Datchler, Nocito and Hayes released the first Johnny Hates Jazz single, “Me and My Foolish Heart”, on RAK Records. It was not a commercial success, but gained substantial airplay and was Sounds magazine’s record of the week.

Datchler began writing new songs which included “Shattered Dreams”. JHJ then performed a showcase at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and were subsequently signed to Virgin Records. “Shattered Dreams” was released in March 1987 and became a top 5 hit in the UK, throughout mainland Europe and Asia, and reached No. 2 in Japan. It was followed by three other worldwide hits, “I Don’t Want to Be a Hero”, “Turn Back the Clock” (featuring Kim Wilde on backing vocals) and “Heart of Gold”. In 1988, “Shattered Dreams” reached No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, and climbed to No. 4 in Canada. That same year, their album, Turn Back the Clock, entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1, selling four million copies.

At the end of 1987, JHJ made two music videos with director David Fincher. The videos were for the US releases of “Shattered Dreams” and “Heart of Gold”. Datchler left the band at the end of 1988.

Hayes and Nocito continued the band, and replaced Datchler with their friend Phil Thornalley, a Grammy Award-winning engineer and record producer and a former bass player for The Cure. The new line-up released a second album, Tall Stories, in 1991. However, the album was unsuccessful and the band dissolved the next year.

Datchler moved to Amsterdam at the end of the 1980s and focused on his solo work, recording the albums Raindance and Fishing for Souls. Returning to the UK, he based himself at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios near Bath throughout the 1990s. In 2000, he moved to the US and created a solar-powered home and studio, where he recorded much of his most recent album, Tomorrow. Throughout this time, he studied the philosophy of indigenous people and became environmentally active. In 2008 he received a GreenTec Award(formerly the Clean Tech Media Awards) in Berlin.

Following the dissolution of the band, Nocito based himself in Cambridge, England, and produced the Katrina and the Waves single “Love Shine a Light“, winner of the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest and a top-10 hit throughout Europe. He also produced and wrote for Hepburn, Gina G and Orson, and continued to work extensively with Katrina and the Waves.

Band personnel

Current members
  • Clark Datchler (born 27 March 1964, Surrey, England) – vocals, keyboards, guitar (1986–1988; 2009–present)
  • Mike Nocito (born 5 August 1963, Wiesbaden, West Germany) – bass (1986–1992, 2009–present)
Former members
  • Calvin Hayes (born 23 November 1962, London) – keyboards, drums (1986–1992, 2009–2010)
  • Phil Thornalley (born 5 January 1960, Suffolk, England) – vocals (1988–1992)

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