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Added 14th May 2014 by Abigail


Johnny Roadhouse
13th December 2004

Excerpt from an interview by Matthew Norman.

MANCHESTER'S Mr Music, Johnny Roadhouse, died in 2009, aged 88.

The man who was a friend of the city's pop greats and of international stars including Paul McCartney and Elton John was an influential figure in music for 70 years.

He started the landmark Johnny Roadhouse Music store on Oxford Road which became a mecca for the region's musicians.

Touring bands playing the city's big arenas called at the store to chat and seek advice from Johnny.

Paul McCartney hired a Yamaha acoustic guitar from the store to play a session on the Mark and Lard show on Radio 1.

And the guitar, restrung to the former Beatle's specification, was kept on display at the Oxford Road store.

He talked about music with modern bands including Oasis and Happy Mondays.

The saxophone player lived as a youngster in Moss Side and started playing his dad's old instrument.

He worked as a fitter's mate on wartime aircraft production at Metro Vickers in Trafford Park, but music was his enthusiasm.

Johnny worked at the production plant with Bobby Hall, who was drummer with Bonelli's Orchestra at Belle Vue's famous dance hall and the young sax player was asked along to `make up the numbers'.

He became a member of the band and also played dance halls in wartime Manchester.

Johnny was a leading figure in the start up of the legendary BBC Northern Variety Orchestra with Alyn Ainsworth conducting the region's top musicians.

As lead sax player with the hugely acclaimed orchestra, later to become the Northern Dance Orchestra, he played with them on TV shows including Make Way For Music and The Good Old Days.

He bought his shop for £4,500 and set up a general dealer's business while acting as music coach and agent for bands in the region.

His family now runs the business and Johnny continued music with the Ashton-on-Mersey Show Band which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

In 2004, musicians honoured his 65 years in entertainment at a special evening at Salford University organised by BBC Radio producer Steve Garner.

And the following year, he was honoured by Manchester's Lord Mayor, Coun Afzal Khan, who presented him with a Manchester lifetime achievement award for his services to music and entertainment.

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