John Otway website
18th November 2017

Joe Topping

John Otway is an English singer-songwriter who has built a sizeable cult audience through extensive touring, a surreal sense of humour and a self-deprecating underdog persona.

Otway had to wait until 1977 before his dream of fame and fortune become a reality. Having caught the eye of the producers of the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test, Otway's performance on that show would grab the attention of the watching audience. Otway, ever the showman, decided to jump on to the amplifier during his performance. (Un)fortunately for Otway, he misjudged his leap and sent Wild Willy Barrett’s amplifier tumbling as he crashed down straddling the box under the amp.

The full force of the impact was absorbed by the most tender part of his body, but in doing this one simple act of recklessness and his wanton disregard for his own safety, Otway was the talk of everyone who watched that evening's programme. Sales of Otway's sixth single "Really Free" increased dramatically and reached number 27 in the UK Singles Chart. An appearance on Top of the Pops, where Otway & Barrett were introduced by Elton John, Otway was finally a star. It would however, be his greatest success for some time.

n 2002, Otway achieved what he desired the most – a second hit. A concerted publicity campaign saw Otway reach number 9 with the disco pastiche Bunsen Burner and a second appearance on the Top of the Pops. Despite this success, a planned world tour collapsed, but Otway continued to gig extensively around the UK either with his band, as a duo with Wild Willy Barrett or solo. A follow-up autobiography was penned in 2010 and titled: I Did It Otway: Regrets I’ve Had a Few.

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