John Kongos

John Kongos is a South African pop/rock musician, vocalist, and songwriter who was active during the 1960s and early ’70s. He first emerged at age 15 in 1961 as a member of Johannesburg rock ‘n’ roll sensation the G-Men. Within a year, he assumed featured billing in the band’s nameplate. The band scored home-country hits for several years as teen pop gave way to beat music.

In 1967, Kongos relocated to the U.K. and formed the pop-psych combo Floribunda Rose, which issued one single — “Linda Loves Linda” / “One Way Street” — for the Piccadilly label. The following year, the band changed its name to Scrugg for three further singles on Pye, including the ever-timely “Lavender Popcorn.”

Kongos went solo with 1969’s Confusions About a Goldfish, recorded with the help of English library producers Alan Tew and John Schroeder. This was followed in 1971 by the album Kongos, which hit the U.K. charts and wielded the hit singles “He’s Gonna Step on You Again” and “Tokoloshe Man.” The latter featured the non-album b-side “Can Someone Please Direct Me Back to Earth,” which deals with the isolation of space travel in a similar manner to “Rocket Man” by Elton John.

Kongos subsequently lowered his profile, opting to focus on songwriting, soundtracks, and production work. For the remainder of the 1970s, he would break his silence only for a pair of 1975/76 singles. In 1981, he made an unexpected return with “I’m Dreaming,” an electro/disco one-off single issued in Italy and South Africa. Soon thereafter, fellow Afrikaner Robert John “Mutt” Lange enlisted Kongos for Fairlight programing on the album Pyromania by Def Leppard.

In 1984, Kongos collaborated with film composer Stanley Myers for the soundtrack to the New Line Cinema thriller Blind Date.

Album discography:

  • Confusions About a Goldfish (1969)
  • Kongos (1971)

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