Whenever I get asked, what has been the highlight of my career, without any thought or hesitation, I immediately reply “Touring as support act to the great showbiz legend Joe Longthorne”
So when I was invited to attend his 60th birthday celebration, I jumped at the opportunity to be amongst the many that had travelled far and wide to be present at a most memorable occasion.
Among the many ways that he has been recognised for his contribution to show biz Joe deservedly was presented with ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2007.
At the age of 14 Joe was a regular face on T.V’s ‘Junior Showtime’ he then went on to perform in the northern working men’s club, which lead him on to a successful showbiz career that the majority of performers can only dream about.
Now here he was on his 60th birthday back at what is probably the most famous venue in the world ‘The London Palladium.’ Presented by ‘Artistes International Management’
When introduced by none other than the great Liverpool comic Jimmy Tarbuck the 25 piece orchestra under the leadership of Joes musical director Steven ‘stretch’ Price struck up the first note and the entire audience were on their feet as the man himself stepped onto the stage, he looked immaculate and if you didn’t know you would never have guessed that the man who stood there acknowledging everyone that had packed the auditorium before he stepped up to the microphone, had spent more than half his life battling cancer.
The performance Joe gave was second to none as he took us through the timeless classics paying tribute with his impersonations to fellow showbiz greats including David Bowie, Shirley Bassey and Frank Sinatra.
With 3 lovely ladies providing backing vocals, Joe invited the extremely talented vocalist Tracey Jordan to join him up front as they jointly paid tribute to Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand with the old classic ‘You don’t bring me flowers.’ I was fortunate to be sat in the auditorium behind Tracie’s father, I am sure at that moment there was not a prouder man in the whole world.
With too many famous names to mention in the auditorium, amongst them was the writer of one of my favourite numbers ‘If I never sing another song’ Don Black.
This was the tune that Joe decided to finish with and when he hit that very last note the whole of the audience were on their feet giving him a well deserved standing ovation like no other that I have ever witnessed in my entire life.
The stars truly came out to pay tribute to one of the greatest performers that the world of showbiz has ever produced.