If Jack Good had never existed, it would be unlikely that anyone would have had the audacity to invent him. The quintessentially British, Oxford-educated TV and music producer and actor has never been a part of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, but the genre would never have been quite the same without him.
Good’s death on September 24, 2017 at the age of 86 after complications from a fall has deprived us of a true original. Never knowingly impartial and endlessly inventive, he was instrumental in no fewer than three touchstone live performance series that were landmarks in both music and television: Britain’s Six five special and Oh boy! and Americas Shindig!
A couple chat on the set of ‘Six Five Special’. Photo: Richi Howell/Redferns
His rapid rise after his time as a BBC trainee led him to it in 1957 six five special, with which the corporation dipped its toe into the now undeniable world of rock ‘n’ roll. His was the revolutionary idea (years earlier Top of the bang and On your marks, get set, go!) to fill the television studio with teenagers dancing to the cast, including such British favorites as Lonnie Donegan, Jim Dale and Petula Clark.
Refusing to comply with the BBC’s demands for non-music content on the show, Good left its reported viewership of 12 million and joined commercial television company ABC to create the non-stop music show in 1958 Oh boy! Cliff Richard was a fixture on the series, as were Marty Wilde and other early British rockers.
Consultant, musician, producer
Well succeeded with such serials as boy meets girl and Phew!, and was behind the idea for change Gene Vincent‘s image to the iconic black leather look he became known for. As a musician he played with Lord Rockingham’s XI of “Hoots Mon!” fame, and as a record producer he was at the desk for Billy Fury‘s highly regarded 1960 LP The sound of anger.
In the 1960s, Good wrote record reviews for music publications and followed his acting passion to appear in series such as Hogan’s heroes and later, The monkeys, and the Elvis Presley Movie clam cheeks. But by then he had repeated his British achievements by establishing the American pop TV series Crap!, which ran for two series in 1964-65 and featured artists such as Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys, Bo DiddleySonny and Cher and Jackie Wilson.
Production by Jerry Lee and PJ
Good’s amazingly varied resume also included notable achievements in musical theater, such as catch my soul the rock version of Shakespeare Othello. The original US production dramatically cast Jerry Lee Lewis in the role of Iago, while the UK version starred PJ Proby and PP Arnold among others. A film was made from it in 1974.
Good also conceived and directed the hit 1977 jukebox musical about Presley’s life. Elvis – The Musical. It launched Welsh rocker Shakin’ Stevens to a London audience and led to the record deal that helped him become Britain’s most successful singles artist of the 1980s. The popular musical from 1992 Good rocking tonight was loosely based on the impresario’s life. In later years Good became a Roman Catholic and devoted his time to painting icons. He lived in New Mexico before returning to Oxfordshire, where he died.
Always sure of his mind and not afraid to swim against the tide, he gave in Disc and music echo the benefit of his views on the 1968 television scene, a decade after he helped revolutionize it. “There is talent in the UK that just isn’t projected properly,” he said.
“Unless an adventurous producer takes a program into his own hands and really rocks it, all I can see is things just keep getting worse,” Good continued. “TV pop shows are totally turned on the record industry, and the record industry is turned on itself, which means breeding wimps.”
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For the latest music news and exclusive features, visit uDiscover Music.uDiscover Music is operated by Universal Music Group (UMG). Some artists included in uDiscover Music articles are affiliated with UMG.