Jools Holland

English pianist, bandleader, singer, composer and television presenterJulian Miles “Jools” Holland, OBE, DL was born 24 January 1958. Holland was educated at Shooters Hill Grammar School, a former state grammar school on Red Lion Lane in Shooter’s Hill (near Woolwich), in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in southeast London, from which he was expelled for damaging a teacher’s Triumph Herald.

Holland played as a session musician before finding fame, and his first studio session was with Wayne County & the Electric Chairs in 1976 on their track “Fuck Off”. Holland was a founding member of the British pop band Squeeze, formed in March 1974, in which he played keyboards until 1981 and helped the band to achieve millions of record sales, before pursuing his solo career.

Holland’s first solo EP was Boogie Woogie ’78. He continued his solo career through the early 1980s, releasing an album and several singles between 1981 and 1984. He branched out into TV, co-presenting the Newcastle-based TV music show The Tube with Paula Yates. Holland achieved notoriety by inadvertently using the phrase “be there, or be an ungroovey fucker” in an early evening TV trailer, live across two channels, for the show, causing him to be suspended from the show for six weeks. He referred to this in his sitcom The Groovy Fellers with Rowland Rivron. In 1983 Holland played an extended piano solo on The The’s re-recording of “Uncertain Smile” for the album Soul Mining. In 1985, Squeeze (which had continued in Holland’s absence through to 1982) unexpectedly regrouped including Holland as their keyboard player. Holland remained in the band until 1990, at which point, he again departed Squeeze to resume his solo career as a musician and a TV host.

In 1987, Holland formed the Jools Holland Big Band, which consisted of himself and Gilson Lavis from Squeeze. This gradually became the 18-piece Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Between 1988 and 1990 he performed and co-hosted along with David Sanborn during the two seasons of the music performance programme Sunday Night on NBC late-night television. Since 1992 he has presented the music programme Later… with Jools Holland, plus an annual New Year’s Eve Hootenanny. His work has involved him with many artists including Sting, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, David Gilmour, Magazine and Bono.

In 1996, Holland signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. Holland has a touring band, the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, which often includes singers Sam Brown and Ruby Turner and his younger brother, singer-songwriter and keyboard player, Christopher Holland. In January 2005 Holland and his band performed with Eric Clapton as the headline act of the Tsunami Relief Cardiff. In 2012, Holland performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in London. Also in June 2012, he presented a programme about the popular songs of London on BBC Two.

Holland is a published author and appears on television shows besides his own and contributes to radio shows. In 2004, he collaborated with Tom Jones on an album of traditional R&B music. He also regularly hosts the weekly programme Jools Holland on BBC Radio 2, which is a mix of live and recorded music and general chat and features studio guests, along with members of his orchestra.

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