Pop Archives

The Rebels - My Son John (1969)

(Doug Flett - Guy Fletcher)
New Zealand New Zealand
#1 New Zealand

Single on Impact by The Rebels without their former lead singer Larry Morris who had gone solo. By this time Glyn Mason had joined The Rebels as singer from New Zealand live band Jigsaw.

Larry Morris had six charting singles in NZ 1969-1983 including The Hunt (1969, #5 NZ) and The Game (1970, #8 NZ).

See also, for example, Mo’reen and Do What You Gotta Do by Larry’s Rebels.

Further reading: Bruce Sergent’s history of Larry’s Rebels also covers Larry’s solo career and the Rebels’ progress post-Larry.

The Empty Vessels - My Son John (1969)

(Doug Flett - Guy Fletcher)

When The Empty Vessels broke up, bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton formed Wishbone Ash.

The Onyx - My Son John (1968)

(Doug Flett - Guy Fletcher)
Original version

Single on Pye by beat-psychedelic band from Cornwall. They emerged as The Onyx Set in Wadebridge in 1965, but their origins go back to a series of bands with varied personnel, beginning with The Buccaneers, first formed in Bodmin around 1961. The Onyx became regular performers around South West England and beyond, including UK tours and jobs in Hamburg. This was one of several singles 1968-1971, many of them written by Flett & Fletcher with B-sides by the band. 

The Onyx were produced by Guy Fletcher at Pye. Later, at Parlophone, their producer was Jerry Lordan, composer of The Shadows' Apache, Wonderful Land and Atlantis. In 1974, with a name change to Vineyard, they were again produced by Lordan for releases on Decca and Deram.

Lyricist Doug Flett, an Australian, had worked in Sydney as a TV cameraman and in advertising before moving to London. He was introduced to songwriting partner Guy Fletcher by Shadows drummer Tony Meehan. In the 70s he produced UFO1 (1970), first album by British heavy rock band UFO

Guy Fletcher was originally a jazz trumpeter who took up pop songwriting and worked as a studio singer for producer Joe Meek. He also switched to keyboards, and in the 70s formed Rogue with two friends who had been in The Onyx, the band that had recorded the Fletcher & Flett song My Son John in 1968. As a singer he has also recorded albums in his own name. Multi-instrumentalist Guy Fletcher, known as keyboardist with Dire Straits, is a nephew.

Flett-Fletcher compositions include The Hollies' I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top (1970, #7 UK, #82 USA); Is There Anyone Out There by Ray Charles (on Love & Peace, 1978); Frankie Valli's Fallen Angel (1976, #36 USA, #11 UK); and Power to All Our Friends, Cliff Richard's Eurovision Song Contest bid for 1973 (#4 UK).

Wonderful World was written by Flett & Fletcher as a Eurovision possibility for Cliff Richard who released it on the 1968 EP Congratulations: Cliff Sings 6 Songs For Europe (Congratulations was the song he did take to Eurovision that year). Wonderful World was then heard from Elvis Presley in the film Live A Little, Love Little, later in 1968. Presley also recorded the Flett-Fletcher songs The Fair’s Moving On (on From Memphis To Vegas, 1969) and Just Pretend (on That's The Way It Is, 1970).

See also: Wind and Rain (1973) by Melbourne band Bluestone,and Scratchin' Ma Head (1968) by Johnny Farnham, both Flett-Fletcher songs. 

References, further reading: 1. The Onyx History (detailed account) 2. The Onyx at Wikipedia. 3. Website of Doug Flett4. Website of Guy Fletcher. 5. The Onyx discography and label shots at 45Cat.com. 6. Vineyard at 45Cat.com. 7. Jerry Lordan at Wikipedia.

Winy - My Son John (1970)

(Doug Flett - Guy Fletcher)
Later version

Single on Major Minor.

David Whitfield - My Son John (1956)

(Sammy Fain - Carolyn Leigh)
Red herring


Single on Decca by British tenor (1925-1980).

Also released in USA by Joe Leahy on a Dawn single (possibly the original, since the writers are American).