UPDATED STORY: Contrary to reports that singer-songwriter John J Francis had passed away at age 74 from a suspected heart attack, John J. has confirmed that he is alive and well.
The report of John’s death originated on ABC Radio 774 Melbourne and 702 Sydney on Friday 5 April 2019 in the early hours of the morning. The announcement was quite specific, that John had died from a heart attack. ABC Radio played his Morning of the Earth song ‘Gentle Ben’ as a tribute.
John was an established recording artist in Australia in the early 1970s. He was best known for his hit single ‘Play Mumma, Sing Me A Song’. The song reached number 22 in 1973.
John also contributed his song ‘Simple Ben’ to the surf classic ‘Morning of the Earth’. The soundtrack album also featured music by Brian Cadd, G. Wayne Thomas, and Taman Shud.
Brian Cadd, Mike Rudd, Lior and Old Man River recorded a new version of the song for the Morning of the Earth concerts of 2008 and 2012.
John J. Francis was born in the USA and migrated to Australia and settled in Newcastle. He recorded four albums between 1972 and 1974 and then quit the music business permanently.
John J. Francis is alive and well but has not been active in the Australian music industry for decades. Noise11 apologises to John, his family and friends for any distress caused from the story.