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Friday, 24 November, 2000, 13:11 GMT
The music industry's outsider
Jonathan King
Jonathan King in 1985 as host of Entertainment USA
Music pundit Jonathan King, one of the industry's most influential figures for two decades, still says he prefers to be seen as an outsider.

"I have always been anti-establishment, and to be accepted by any establishment is offensive to me," he once said.

Jonathan King
King claims to have had 20 top 30 hits
He now runs his own music industry newsletter, The Tip Sheet.

But during the height of his fame he was either churning out his own records under a variety of pseudonyms - or expounding his views on the state of the pop world to anyone who would listen.

King decided he wanted to be a pop star at the age of 15, changing his first name from Kenneth to Jonathan.

Six years later, while studying English at Cambridge, he had his first hit with Everyone's Gone To The Moon.

The following year, he became manager of Decca Records, aged 22, and went on to set up his own label, UK Records, by 1970.

A string of hit records followed - some under his own names, some under other monikers.

Jonathan King
King's colourful manner made him a household name
They included Una Paloma Blanca, Lick A Smurp For Christmas, Loop di Love (by Shag), and Leap Up And Down And Wave Your Knickers In The Air by St Cecilia.

He once claimed he had 20 Top 30 hits under 20 different aliases.

Household name

With his large round glasses and colourful dress sense, he became a household name.

His influence on the music industry remained strong during the 70s, and he was linked to the rise of Genesis, The Bay City Rollers, and 10cc.

In the 80s, he moved into the media, hosting two programmes for BBC Two, Entertainment USA and music show No Limits.

Jonathan King in 1987
His columns would lambast or praise the stars of the day
He became a prickly outsider, and used his weekly column in The Sun newspaper to lambast the pop stars of the day - and praise his discoveries.

In 1989, the British Phonographic Industry recruited him to revamp the Brit Awards, the UK pop industry's flagship awards.

King insisted on total control of the event. The 1990 awards even featured then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher crooning her favourite song - How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?

He quit the Brits "in disgust" in 1991 after the BPI said it wanted more big names at the ceremony - King wanted it to be a showcase for new talent.

Eurovision master

In 1995 he tried to make the Eurovision Song Contest credible for British audiences.

Jonathan King
King persuaded Margaret Thatcher to appear at the Brits
He was more successful there, as the three acts he sent to the contest - Love City Groove, Gina G, and a reformed Katrina and The Waves - each had top 10 hits with their entries.

In 1997, the BPI welcomed him back to give him an award for his work in the industry, calling him "someone who many love to hate", but adding: "He has undoubtedly brought the best of our industry into the hearts of millions of people."

Until very recently, he was still expounding his views on pop - calling Robbie Williams "talentless".

His personal life remained hidden from view - he said he never wanted to marry, or commit himself to any relationship where he would feel "tied".

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