Johnny Larkin, performer, agent, promoter, charity fundraiser is the oldest inductee into the British Country Music Hall of Fame at 87 years. This legend of the North East started his musical career in 1948, just three years after the end of WW2, incidentally our other two inductees this year were just four years old.
Such was his skill and charisma he teamed with Fred Rowe and won a Butlin’s talent competition.
In 1952 he formed an entertainment agency in the mid-50s, the renowned JL Entertainments to further the careers of the North East artists.
He has booked many major Country acts including Charlie Walker, Marvin Rainwater, the fiddler and Billy Armstrong who toured with a then nine year old Hall of Fame member, Sarah Jory. He also toured and played alongside Boxcar Willie and became friends with him. He’s not perfect, he turned down Tammy Wynette in her early days because she was not well known!
After the death of his wife from Parkinson’s disease he began an ongoing fundraising campaign starting with recording an album with all profits going to the Parkinson Society. He has so far raised over £5,000 for them.
A prolific performer, he has over 20 albums in his back catalogue
of strictly the old school Country, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the stars. Still performing when he gets a chance he has no intention of retiring, doing many charity gigs each year.
His son runs the agency but he still shows an interest.
Back in 2009 broadcaster and journalist, Brian Clough wrote if ever there is a British Hall of Fame, Johnny Larkin must surely be an inductee.