Jools Holland Biography

Julian Miles Holland, 24 January 1958, Blackheath, London, England. An effervescent pianist, television host and model car collector, Holland learned the piano as a child and later came to the attention of fellow Deptford residents Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford who invited him to join their new band Squeeze in 1974. Signed to Deptford Fun City in 1978, Squeeze began their aural assault of the pop charts at the same time as Holland had his first solo release, the Boogie Woogie EP. Holland left Squeeze in August 1980 after a farewell gig in their native Deptford, whereupon he was replaced by Paul Carrack. He then formed the Millionaires with Mike Paice (saxophone), Pino Palladino (bass) and Martin T. Deegan (drums). ‘Bumble Boogie’, their debut, trickled out in April 1981. After a few more singles with the Millionaires he went solo in 1983 with ‘Crazy Over You’. Further singles followed at various junctures in his multi-media career.

Holland can turn his hand to most styles, but would appear to favour New Orleans blues best. He became well known for his presentation of the 80s UK television pop show The Tube, achieving infamy for his use of a four-letter word (‘... all you groovy fuckers’). He rejoined Squeeze in 1985, and continued to play with them occasionally until 1990. During this period he launched the Jools Holland Big Band with Squeeze colleague Gilson Lavis. Further television appearances with Roland Rivron preceded Holland’s return to pop presentation with the resurrected Juke Box Jury television programme. In 1992, he presented a BBC2 Television series, Later With Jools Holland, which went on to become UK television’s last hope for new and interesting music. Holland could also be seen playing piano with his band on Chris Evans’ Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush.

In 1994, Holland undertook touring with the ambitious Jools Holland Rhythm And Blues Orchestra. Over the next few years, the pianist balanced recording and touring with this unit and his media commitments. The star-studded and bestselling Small World Big Band series pay tribute to Holland’s standing within the music world, and have covered a wide array of musical styles including R&B, country, and ska.

For some, Holland’s jokey persona clouds his extraordinary gift as an outstanding pianist. He has considerable dexterity as a boogie-woogie pianist and a natural ear for good music: his eclectic taste is one of his great strengths. He received an OBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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