Clark Datchler (born Clark Wynford Datchler, 27 March 1964, Sutton, Surrey, England) is an English singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. He first rose to fame in 1987 as the lead singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in the band Johnny Hates Jazz.
Clark Datchler's father was Fred Datchler, a singer and saxophonist in two popular vocal groups of the 1950s, The Polkadots and The Stargazers. He also sang backing vocals for The Beatles and Frank Sinatra. Fred encouraged his son to learn to play piano, guitar and flute from the age of 7 years old. Datchler attended Downsend School, Ashtead and St. John’s School, Leatherhead where he started many bands.
He released his first single when he was 17, "You Fooled Him Once Again", on the London soul label Bluebird. The record featured Julie Roberts of Working Week, and two members of the reggae band Aswad: drummer Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye, and bassist George "Ras Levi" Oban. The single was not a success.
Shortly after, he signed a music publishing deal with Warner Bros. Records, and moved to LA when he was 18 to write for other artists. The following year he returned to London and joined the band Hot Club, signed to RAK Records. His fellow band members were Calvin Hayes (later part of Johnny Hates Jazz), Glenn Matlock of the Sex Pistols, and guitarist James Stevenson of Chelsea and Generation X. They released one single ("It Ain’t Me, Girl"), before Datchler was signed to RAK as a solo artist. He subsequently released the singles "I Don’t Want You" and "Things Can’t Get Any Worse", both produced by Mickie Most (Calvin Hayes' father and producer of The Animals, Donovan and Kim Wilde). However, success continued to elude him.
Johnny Hates Jazz
Datchler became a member of Johnny Hates Jazz alongside production team Calvin Hayes and Mike Nocito in 1986. The band released their first single, "Me and My Foolish Heart", on RAK Records in that year. The single did not achieve success. However soon, as Clark began to write the songs for the band, a showcase was held at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club where the group performed in front of several record labels. They signed with Virgin Records, and Datchler's best-known song, "Shattered Dreams", was released in spring 1987. The single was a success worldwide, reaching #5 in the UK. It also reached #2 in Japan and the US (as well as #1 on the Billboard AOR chart). Several international hits followed, including the anti-war anthem "I Don't Want to Be a Hero" and "Turn Back the Clock". The band's debut album, Turn Back the Clock, was released in January 1988 and reached #1 in the UK, going double platinum. Datchler wrote most of the songs on this album, including all of the band's hits.
Along with being signed to Virgin Records, Datchler signed a music publishing agreement with Virgin Music Publishing.
Datchler left Johnny Hates Jazz in 1988 at the height of his fame. He moved to Amsterdam and began work on a solo album called Raindance. The album featured some renowned musicians, including bass player Nathan East, drummer John "JR" Robinson and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Also featured was guitarist Dave Gregory of XTC. The album saw Datchler’s first environmental song, "Raindance" – one of several to follow.
The first single from Raindance was “Crown Of Thorns”. It was released in Britain in 1990 but was not a success. The Raindance album was released on Virgin Records in Japan shortly afterwards.
In 1991, Datchler went back into the studio to record some tracks with Rupert Hine, producer of Tina Turner, The Fixx and Howard Jones. The new album was titled Fishing for Souls. However, when the relationship between Virgin Records and Datchler deteriorated further, he left the label. Fishing for Souls was not officially released by Virgin, but was eventually made available as a bootleg.
In 2009, Datchler acquired the rights to the album. It was remixed by Stephen W Tayler, digitally remastered and in 2010 it was released on Datchler's own label, Interaction Music.
In the mid 1990s, Datchler moved back to Britain where he based himself at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios outside the city of Bath. There, he taught himself to play the bouzouki, drums and percussion, and refined his abilities as a pianist, keyboard player, bassist and guitarist. He also began to experiment with combining world and folk instruments with contemporary instruments and modern grooves. The recordings he made at Real World eventually led to the beginning of the writing and recording of the album Tomorrow.
At the same time, Datchler studied the philosophy of indigenous peoples. He became a Green Party member, and focused his songwriting skills on social issues that concerned him.
In 1998, Datchler signed a music publishing deal with BMG Music.
In the 2000s, Datchler based himself in the USA. He decided to make an album with an environmental theme, and consequently began work Tomorrow. He played many of the instruments on the album as well as producing, engineering and mixing. He invited several notable musicians to record with him, including Phil Gould (drummer of Level 42), David Rhodes (guitarist with Peter Gabriel), James McNally (Irish whistle and bodhran player of Afro Celt Sound System), Hugh Marsh (fiddle player with Loreena McKennitt), Phil Beer (mandolin player of Show Of Hands) and Joji Hirota (shakuhachi player). He recorded much of the 12-track album in a state-of-the-art studio powered by solar energy. One of the songs was a new recording of his first hit with Johnny Hates Jazz, "Shattered Dreams."
The completed version of Tomorrow was released on InterAction Music in May 2007. This album was originally released under the pseudonym of Nightfoxx, but Datchler subsequently returned to recording and performing under his original name. In 2009 it was remixed by Stephen W Tayler, digitally remastered and re-released.
Datchler also signed a music publishing deal with Stage Three Music, part of BMG Rights Management.
Datchler rejoined Johnny Hates Jazz in late 2009, and in 2010 they played live shows in Europe and SE Asia. He is currently working on a new JHJ album with Mike Nocito, which is due to be released in early 2013. They plan to tour later in the year.
In October 2010, Datchler received a BMI award in recognition of "Shattered Dreams" achieving over three million broadcast performances in the US alone.
- Turn Back The Clock 1987 (w/ Johnny Hates Jazz)
- Raindance 1990
- Fishing For Souls 1992
- Tomorrow 2007
- Magnetized 2013 (w/ Johnny Hates Jazz)
|"You Fooled Him Once Again"||1981|
|"It Ain't Me Girl" (with Hot Club)||1983|
|"I Don't Want You"||1984|
|"Things Can't Get Any Worse"||1985|
|"Me and My Foolish Heart" (with JHJ)||1986|
|"Shattered Dreams" (with JHJ)||1987|
|"I Don't Want To Be A Hero" (with JHJ)||1987|
|"Turn Back The Clock" (with JHJ)||1987|
|"Heart Of Gold" (with JHJ)||1988|
|"Don't Say It's Love" (with JHJ)||1988|
|"Crown Of Thorns"||1990|
|"Raindance" (Japan only)||1990|
|"Magnetized" (with JHJ)||2013|