PJ Proby: Three Week Hero

Pjprobyportrait Beard Lr

I've especially enjoyed sharing some of my enthusiasms for obscure musical acts here on Boing Boing as the guest blogger. This post is about PJ Proby, crazed crooner and rock and roll hellion. I am a massive, massive fan of this guy's music. I've been fascinated by him for years and would LOVE to make a documentary about him. No one plays the sad, apologetic lonely guy better than PJ Proby. His voice can make a grown man cry, but you'd almost have to be half-mad to sell a song like he can. And half-mad PJ Proby probably is…

Once famously blacklisted in the UK for repeated splitting his blue velvet trousers onstage, it's tempting to call PJ Proby the "Zelig of rock and roll." Despite the fact that today almost no one remembers who the guy is/was, he was a peer and fellow performer of The Beatles, Tom Jones, Cilla Black, The Rolling Stones, Jackie DeShannon, Marc Almond, St. Etienne and many others. His sister dated Elvis Presley and Proby himself sang the "vocal guides" imitating Elvis that the King would then re-record during his Hollywood movie phase. His first British TV appearance was as a special guest on "Around the Beatles."

His 1968 album "Three Week Hero" featured none other than a young Led Zeppelin (or the "New Yardbirds" as they were then known) warming up as his backing band and he appeared as "The Godfather" touring with The Who during their 1997 "Quadrophenia" production. Van Morrison even wrote a song called "Whatever Happened to PJ Proby?" I could go on and on, he's led a very colorful, albeit very self-destructive life, but I'll leave the bio for the links and concentrate on all the great PJ Proby performances you can find on YouTube after the jump (and trust me, this isn't the best stuff that's out there).

"You Can't Come Home Again (If You Leave Me Now) |

"Around The Beatles" (1964) |

"Hold Me" (first UK hit single) |

"That Means A Lot" (Lennon-McCartney composition) |

"Somewhere" |

""What's Wrong With My World?" |

PJ Proby/Marc Almond duet "Yesterday Has Gone" (1996) |

Interesting Marc Almond interview on the difficulties of working with PJ Proby |

"Niki Hoeky" (audio only)

(Can someone out there please post a video of this?) |

Official PJ Proby site |

Get Hip to His Conflagration |

The Fall and Rise of PJ Proby |

How P.J. Proby's life is falling apart at the seams (Recent article about the 69-year-old singer's legal troubles) |

St. Etienne's Bob Stanley on the Pop Mavericks