Johnny O’Keefe was a human dynamo, a rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse whose influence still looms large on the Australia musical landscape. He was brilliantly talented, but possessed a self-destructive streak, and suffered as many breakdowns as he did breakthroughs. Yet he played a huge role in establishing the Australian entertainment industry as we know it today.
O’Keefe may have been short in stature, but he was big on ego. ‘You can boo me and you can make fun of me,’ he once told a hostile audience, ‘but you all paid your money to see me because you love me.’ He was the ultimate performer, and thrived on being on stage, giving the music, and the fans, everything he had. O’Keefe died way too young, from a heart attack, at the age of 43, leaving behind a legacy of timeless hits, including ‘She Wears My Ring’, ‘She’s My Baby’ and ‘Shout’. He recorded 33 Top 40 hits during his lifetime.
Written with the active cooperation of the O’Keefe family and the JO’K Trust, Jeff Apter tells the colourful and evocative story of the life and times of one of Australia’s best ever performers.