JON DEREK (Semi-Retirement)


After more than 30 years on the road, Jon Derek entered into a period of semi-retirement in 1992 having made the shock announcement, the previous year, not to continue with full-time musicianship. He did, however, ensure the public, promoters, press and, everyone who had supported him over the years, that he would still be available for 'selected dates', consequently, ensuring the top quality show that his fans had come to associate with him. He was quoted to have said, "The rigours of life on the road and the hardships of perpetual travelling have taken their toll on my physical and mental capacity to face more of the same." Furthermore, as a traditionalist, Jon had become somewhat disillusioned with the direction in which the British country music scene was going - with an ever-increasing number of clubs turning towards the latest craze 'line-dancing', Jon was not prepared to alter his repertoire/style at such a late stage in his career.


Embassy Centre Theatre - Skegness (1999)

Jon's show had always leaned more towards the traditional sounds in country music. He stuck with what he knew best and continued to perform at a number of clubs, festivals and theatres all over the UK in the years which followed. Backed by a string of well-established British bands such as Hobo, Stealer, Chrissie Sands & Oregon and more notably, Barbary Coast (Frank Ifield's former backing band) and West Virginia (who backed Jon on numerous occasions) - Jon gave up the tours and concentrated solely on 'one off' shows.


Jon Derek and West Virginia performing at a country music festival in Dorset (Late 1990's)


He did this right up until his final performance in 2005 when he made a tremendous cameo appearance at a memorial concert arranged by George Hamilton IV for the British artist, Pete SayersBroadcaster and journalist David Allan wrote in his column feature for the long-running publication 'Country Music People',"A surprise that evening came from veteran Jon Derek, mainstay of the British Country scene in the 70s and 80s, who is sounding better than ever - not just in my opinion but that of much of the audience. The familiar voice has a slightly rougher edge and it's now the voice of experience perfectly suited to his material. 


Jon was, however, pursuaded to come out of retirement for one final appearance in 2006 to perform at a festival in Hunstanton, Norfolk. Promoter Diane Richards was quoted to have said, "As a special favour, Jon did a guest spot for me and he brought the house down."