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The Bob Rogers Artist of the Month: Col Joye

When Col Joye did his first shows in 1958 he was still getting used to his new stage name of Col Joye. He thought it sounded corny. He was born Colin Frederick Jacobsen on April 13, 1937 and grew up in the Sydney suburb of East Hills. He left school at age 14 and took a job as a salesman at a wholesale jewellers in Sydney. At work, he met Dave Bridge who was also interested in music and, as an accomplished guitarist, persuaded Col to take lessons.

At age 16 Col bought his first guitar. His brothers Kevin and Keith were also musical and in 1957 Kevin formed the K.J. Quintet, which included Dave Bridge. At that stage Col acted as both vocalist and rhythm guitarist; it wasn't until Keith joined as bass guitarist that Col could concentrate more on singing.

One of the Quintet's earliest, regular engagements was at a hotel in Maroubra where they were spotted by entrepreneur Bill McColl who offered them a spot on his forthcoming "Jazzorama" concert in October 1957. The group decided that they should change their name though to something more rock & roll sounding. They considered Col Jay & the Playmates, Col Joye & the Playmates before deciding on Col Joye & the Joy Boys. Even then they had second thoughts and contacted McColl in the hope of changing it, but it was too late as the posters for the concert had been printed.

More concerts would follow for McColl, also, Col and the band worked the Police Boys' Club dance circuit and for a time they ran their own dance at Bankstown. Wherever they played, they attracted big crowds.

Col's recording career began when he was spotted by Festival Records' A&R manager Ken Taylor. He'd been looking for a local artist to launch the labels interest in Australian rock. Their first record was an extended play called 'Joy Ride', released mid 1958, then a single featuring two cover versions; Lloyd Prices' "Stagger Lee" and The Crests' "Sixteen Candles".

Col's first hit would come via a demonstration record that had been sent to 2GB disc jockey of the time John Burls. Sorting through the records for something to record as his own, Col happened upon "Bye Bye Baby". Col scored his first, and Festival Records', first national hit song.

The hits kept coming with "Rockin' Rollin' Clementine" and "Oh Yeah Uh Huh" which became Australia's first locally-produced, national Number 1 record. The songs unusual sound was created by the simultaneous playing of a riff by guitar and piano and using a typewriter to get the tapping sound effect throughout. In late 1959 Col released the album "Jump With Joy" and in 1960 "Songs That Rocked The Stadium" which included his fourth national Top 10 hit, "Teenage Baby".

Live in concert, Col always played with his unique 'horned' guitar, made especially by Col and his brother Kevin, as were all the amplifiers and guitars they used. They set up Joye Enterprises and their own publishing company, Joye Music. Col's next album "The Golden Boy" was released in November 1960.

By 1962 Col was as familiar on Bandstand as the host Brian Henderson. All the TV exposure helped with record sales and the hits continued with "Yes Sir, That's My Baby", "Going Steady", "Sweet Little Sixteen Twist" and another Top 10 hit in "Today's Teardrops" in 1962.

Col Joye was never just a performer though. His business interests have included music publishing, his own record label, the launching of other artists and shows as an entrepreneur and a management company that has looked after, among many others, Andy Gibb in the 1970's. And of course, Col's hit songs and live performances have continued too.

2CH welcomes much loved Australian icon, Col Joye to the station this month for "5 O'Clock Rock", weekdays from 5 to 6pm.