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Thread: RIP Joe Longthorne MBE

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
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    Default RIP Joe Longthorne MBE

    Hull born singer and impressionist Joe Longthorne has died at his home in Blackpool the age of 64 from lung cancer.

    I wouldn't have thought of him as an "impressionist" in the Mike Yarwood or Rory Bremner sense - (in other words, if he sang an Elvis Presley song, he would sing it without it sounding like him), but he did do a good attempt of doing the equivalent of "cover versions" of various songs for his shows, even though one has to say that his style of singing was. His version of "Never Gonna Give You Up" might not have sounded like Rick Astley, but it did sound like a singer who knew what he was singing. Despite this, one would not have put him in the same category as karaoke singers or even Stars in the Eyes-type acts - he was himself and not anyone else.

    Longthorne was born in the same year that ITV began in 1955, and had made quite a few appearances on that television channel in the 1980s and early 1990s, although he made one of his first appearances in Yorkshire TV's Junior Showtime at the age of 14 which was great work experience for the future entertainer. He was of Romani ethnicity as a young boy growing up.

    Future opportunities found him appearing in the odd Wednesday 8.00 pm show and also the Sunday evening Live from the Palladium show with Jimmy Tarbuck as compere, and just a couple of years later, Central TV gave him his own series up until around 1991, called The Joe Longthorne Show - a show which was shown on Mondays or Wednesdays at 7.00 pm during the summer months as a warm up for Coronation Street. Here, he sang various versions of famous hits, and had regular guest Wayne Dobson performing magic tricks during the course of each edition. Dobson himself was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1988 and was forced to scale down his performances as a result. Ironically, a search for the Joe Longthorne Show on the IMDB a few years ago had listed Dobson as a participant, but not Longthorne himself despite taking the show's title role.

    It has to be said that Longthorne was someone who looked a lot older for his age just like a lot of northern based entertainers from the 1980s did - when the regular TV work dried up, he was mostly found in the theatre, concert halls and on cruises, doing more or less what he did on television just a few years before, entertaining and giving pleasure to millions of people. The fact that his last regular TV series was in 1991 made me think whether or not he had been a victim of the early 1990s Recession just like fellow entertainers like Ted Rogers was.

    Longthorne was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2012 for his work to charity, and some of the versions of his songs were so successful that he had released three platinum albums during his career. Personally, I do think that he was in danger of being compared to entertainers such as Ken Dodd and Des O'Connor as a mainstream entertainer who had a few hits, and by virtue being seen as too much of a novelty performer rather than a straight professional one. I am not too certain whether he only sung other people's hits or whether he had some of his own composition added to his portfolio as well - nevertheless, he was an entertainer who had a great talent for tackling songs from other entertainers.

    I know it is a cliché, but he is another person from the TV screen that I grew up with who has now gone.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    2,034

    Default Re: RIP Joe Longthorne MBE

    I heard about Joe's passing earlier today (Sat). What a legend of a singer Joe wa - Joe to me as a Singer was the same as Russell Watson - a natural talent who could easily have not been found/missed and went on to be a legend in his own right. Joe's blackpool Shows was probably more ledgendary than Joe himself - from what I recall from reviews etc. If Joe has missed any Summer Season's in Blackpool - I bet it his only 3 in 30 years or something. That I take my hat off to Joe for and the times I have visited Blackpool over the years is now a big big regret I never saw Joe in Concert now sadly

    Joe was up there with Michael Ball for the type of singing both did. A class act indeed - just like Michael

    RIP Joe Longthorne
    Last edited by 80sChav; 03-08-2019 at 22:11.

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