John Edmond was born on 18 November 1936 in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) of Scottish parents. During his childhood his parents moved between Scotland and Central Africa, and he, therefore, attended school in Luanshya, Edinburgh, Scotland, and in South Africa at Christian Brothers College in Pretoria. He displayed a strong affinity to music at an early age, learning to play the mouth organ at the age of 3, as well as the bugle and drums while still at school. After school he started working at the Roan Antelope copper mine in Luanshya, but later joined the (Southern) Rhodesian Army in Bulawayo. During this time he bought his first guitar at a trading store for one pound.
In the army he met Bill Coleman and together with Eugene van der Watt and Ian Kerr they formed the Bushcats Skiffle Group. After his military stint he studied computer science at Moore Hall in England, also hitch-hiking around Europe, playing in the pubs of Amsterdam’s dock area.
On his return to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the Bushcats re-grouped, performing around the country. In 1967 John moved to South Africa, and worked as a computer programmer/analyst with the Greatermans group. In his spare time he concentrated on folk music and played at the Nite Beat, the Troubadour and many other Johannesburg folk music venues. This resulted in him forming The New Trends with ex-Bushcat Allan Goodwin and with Stevie van Kerken (Lange). The trio recorded two albums on the EMI label, but disbanded after two years. John then concentrated on song writing, with many of his songs being recorded by well-known artists such as Nick Taylor, Pat Gregory, John Berks, Four Jacks and a Jill, Dave Mills, Barbara Ray and many others.
His break came in 1969 when Terry Dempsey heard him singing, and offered him a recording contract on the spot. He had immediate success, with seven of his 7” single releases charting on the South African Top 20:
• “Fairy Tales” - #13 in 1970;
• “Round and Around”, #13 in 1970. Written and produced by Terry Dempsey, and sung by John, this song was South Africa’s entry at the 1970 World Song Festival in Japan;
• “Boom Sha La La Lo” - #10 in 1971;
• “Pasadena” - #17 in 1972;
• “Every Day, Every Night” - #7 in 1972;
• His big hit, “Toy Train” - #6 in 1973, charting for 18 weeks;
• “Goodbye Is The Saddest Song” - #10 in 1975.
John left the computer industry to work at Gallo Music Publishing, where he eventually rose to the position of General Manager. He later left the Gallo Group to do professional karate and to run his own publishing company, Roan Antelope Music. He and his wife Teresa then bought a farm in the Limpopo Province and established a private game farm and lodge called “Kunkuru” (Tswana for Roan Antelope), where he still resides today.