Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Blue Plaque Unveiled to Musical Legend

Jarrow born musician, singer and songwriter John Miles has been honoured with a commemorative Blue Plaque.

The late John Miles toured the world as lead guitarist for Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Jimmy Page and had global success with 1976 hit ballad ‘Music’.

He also composed several musicals performed at The Customs House, where the Blue Plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor John McCabe, joined by John Miles’ family and friends and Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer MBE.

The Mayor said: “It was a great honour to unveil this special commemorative Blue Plaque to remember the life and legacy of such an outstanding musician.

“John was a ‘Jarra lad’ who became an internationally renowned artist, an incredibly gifted singer, songwriter and a great musical talent.

“This new plaque is a fitting tribute and recognition of John’s exceptional contribution to music worldwide and to the local theatre scene.”

He also composed several musicals performed at The Customs House, where the Blue Plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor John McCabe, joined by John Miles’ family and friends and Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer MBE.

The Mayor said: “It was a great honour to unveil this special commemorative Blue Plaque to remember the life and legacy of such an outstanding musician.

“John was a ‘Jarra lad’ who became an internationally renowned artist, an incredibly gifted singer, songwriter and a great musical talent.

“This new plaque is a fitting tribute and recognition of John’s exceptional contribution to music worldwide and to the local theatre scene.”

John was proud of the North East and lived in the region until he died aged 72, in December 2021.

John’s daughter Tanya Walker nominated her Dad for the Blue Plaque with support of his wife Eileen. The plaque was funded by the Council and sited at The Customs House where he was also an Honorary Fellow.

Tanya said: “We are absolutely over the moon that Dad has been awarded a Blue Plaque and are so happy it is at the Customs House. Dad loved the Customs House and wrote a number of musicals which were performed there.

“This Blue Plaque is so well deserved as my Dad was such a talented musician who loved to North East and neve ever forgot his roots. It’s amazing that it will be there forever so we can all see it every time we attend The Customs House.”

In his later years, John – alongside playwright Tom Kelly – wrote music for Customs House performances including The Machine Gunners, Tom and Catherine, Cuddy’s Miles, Dan Dare and The Dolly Mixtures. Rooney, another musical he worked on just before he passed away, is yet to be performed.

South Tyneside Council Mayor Cllr John McCabe unveils Blue Plaque to musician John Miles at The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields.
South Tyneside Council Mayor Cllr John McCabe unveils Blue Plaque to musician John Miles at The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields.

Ray Spencer MBE, Executive Director of The Customs House, added: “John was an exceptional talent. His collaboration with Tom Kelly allowed us to produce four exceptional musicals featuring the incredible tunes of ‘Mr Music.’

“John performed across the world, but his heart always remained in South Tyneside. It is a huge privilege for The Customs house to be the home of this wonderful Blue Plaque.”

Under South Tyneside’s Blue Plaque scheme, members of the public are invited to put forward people or places to be recognised for their importance to local history, heritage and culture.

Each year, the Council supports the installation of up to three new blue plaques, one funded by the Council, and the others privately funded.

There are more than 30 blue plaques sited in locations across the Borough.

Nominations are currently being welcomed for consideration for 2024-25. For further information about South Tyneside blue plaques or to make a nomination visit the Council’s website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/blueplaques