Jude Cole, Debbi Peterson & Al Stewart Celebrate John Wicks of The Records
It’s hard to find anyone more respected and genuinely liked by his peers than John Wicks of The Records. This past February 28th would have been his 66th birthday, the first since his passing. A birthday performance marked the occasion featuring some rather big names in the pop music business.
While the occasion was bittersweet, each performer seemed to truly enjoy and celebrate the moment, taking the time to share a story about their friendship with John. Peter Asher started things off with the classic hit “World Without Love”. Then, it was time for a short set of Records songs featuring musicians from The Tribe (Jeff Alan Ross, Marc Mann and Michael Stern). Nick Guzman performed admirably as vocalist in John’s stead.
Debbi Peterson was joined by sister Vicki for The Bangles hit “Going Down to Liverpool”, a favorite song of John’s. Debbie also performed several songs she’d written with John including one of my favorites, “Charmed Life”.
Al Stewart turned out to be quite the storyteller. He shared a funny story about the circumstances under which he and John met and performed his mega-hit “Year of the Cat”.
John’s good friend Bill Berry was a highlight as well, choosing to perform a not so well known b-side entitled “Held Up High”. We’d all come to know a different version of the song called “Another Star”. The original “Held Up High” version was a refreshing choice. Jamie Savko of The Waddy Wachtel Band sung one of John’s favorites, AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top”.
The highlight however, had to be the appearance of Jude Cole. When Jude jumped onstage, John’s longtime friend and guitarist Dennis Taylor quipped “Oh my God, it’s a real Record”. That elicited a few laughs, to say the least.
To hear Jude sing “Hearts in Her Eyes” (as he did on the original recorded version) was something truly special. The celebration concluded with a moving rendition of John’s composition that Al Stewart referred to earlier as the perfect pop song, “Starry Eyes”.
There were some pretty big names in the audience. David Paich of Toto was there as well as Zak Nilsson. No doubt there were many other noteworthy people in attendance, too. The best moment of all was seeing Valerie Bliss, John’s long time companion. She may very well be the sweetest person on the planet.
I captured as much video as possible, hoping that you may experience the event in some way. Unfortunately, memory requirements didn’t enable me to get it all.
Next week we go back to reviewing new music but for the next few days, lets take a breather and celebrate the life of a brilliant songwriter and great guy.
Bless you, John.