“Valentino is a giant in the world of entertainment and innovation. Over the years he has pushed the boundaries of music and sound further than anyone I know and never fails to excite and surprise his audience. Last nights audience stood to applaud this top act and that was after his opening number. His enormous sound gets right inside your whole body and your senses are bombarded with feelings of incredible emotion. Females sitting near me were crying. I’m convinced they were having a musical orgasm”

Johnny Marsden – The Stage & Television To-Day


was managed for a while by Eve Taylor who also looked after Val Doonican, Sandie Shaw, and Adam Faith. When he signed as a recording artiste for E.M.I. Jackie had a ‘name transplant’ and became known as Valentino. He was “launched” as Valentino when he rode a camel (hired from Chessington Zoo) down London’s Regent Street at mid-day, surrounded by a bevy of exotic dancers, to give a concert at London’s Café Royal accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra in front of invited show business industry representatives as well as the press. His stunt on the camel brought the whole of London’s traffic to a standstill which resulted in the story appearing on TV channels all around the world as well as all the national newspapers including a half page in the Sun. After his Café Royal concert, Peter Hepple (Stage & Television To-Day) wrote “Valentino’s technique is meticulous, his digital dexterity is phenomenal and it is allied with a deep musical feeling which makes his poetic treatment of numbers unforgettable.”

Valentino- the Fifth Beatle? Their first tour - Dublin

Jackie recalls “We played cinemas in those days and had to arrive early afternoon otherwise we would never get near the place. The crowds were unbelievable and the screaming was something else. You couldn’t hear the music, drowned out with the screams. As soon as the curtain came down at the end of the concert all of us (the Beatles and the whole cast) were quickly bundled into the back of a Post Office van and driven a breakneck speed away from the cinema to a hotel. During the tour I got to know their manager Brian Epstein very well. He said I was wasting my time in Ireland and advised me to move to the UK. He promised to use me on his shows if I did. Shortly after I moved to London and true to his word he booked me for loads of concerts, among them several at The Prince of Wales in London with Dusty Springfield. “

“Next time I met up with the ‘Fab Four’ was when I made my very first L.P. for EMI at The Abbey Road recording studios. The album was called simply ‘Valentino’ and was on Studio Two in Stereo with a forty piece orchestra and the Mike Samme Singers and featured various famous conductors including Alan Ainsworth, Brian Fahey, and Johnny Arthey. I arrived at the session really early in order to practice and get used to the beautiful concert grand piano they had at Studio one. When I opened the studio door there was a thick ‘fog’ hanging in the air. It smelled rather strange to an innocent young chap like me. In the monitor room were The Beatles and their recording manager George Martin as well as an engineer. They had been recording all night and were listening to some of the tracks they had recorded. I sat for ages listening and chatting. It was only in later years that I realised I had been fortunate and privileged to hear some of their most famous tracks before anyone else in the world ever did.”

“As it happened I was doing a Beatles number on my album called ‘All My Loving’ interwoven with a Beatles medley arrangement that I had arranged. So I played it to them. They were tickled pink and most impressed as at that time no one had done anything like that before with their music. I still remember the twinkle in Paul’s eye and the big grin on his face when he heard how I had interwoven so many of their tunes together around the main song All My Loving. He was really chuffed.”

“Later the members of the orchestra began to arrive for my recording session. As soon as they encountered “the fog” they opened all the studio doors and went around waving their sheet music in the air trying to get rid of the strange smell. They later told me it was one of the “happiest” sessions they had ever experienced! It’s worth noting that we recorded the whole album in one day, three hours in the morning, a break for lunch, and three hours in the afternoon. Nowadays they can sometimes take years !”

“I met up with them lots of times over the years. The last time I saw John was four months before he was murdered. I was with my American agent Phil Shapiro in his office at West 57th Street in New York when he mentioned that John was just over the road in another building so l popped over and had a chat for over an hour. Little did I know….”

Jackie Farn with his 3 Platinum Albums

E.M.I. released two LP’s on Studio Two, both produced by Bob Barratt. The first was called Valentino and featured him playing his own arrangements of classic pieces such as the Warsaw Concerto, Lawrence of Arabia and Aranjuez Mon Amour with a forty piece orchestra and the Mike Samme Singers. There were several conductors on that album including Alan Ainsworth, Brian Fahey and Johnny Arthey. His second album was called The Cordovox Magic Of Valentino. He then released a Quadraphonic album under the Pye label. The following year he set up his own record company which produced twelve albums. He had massive success which resulted in three gold, three silver and three platinum discs. Over the years he has had many custom-made instruments including his famous four channel Synthaccordion, his Quadraphonic surround sound Elkavox accordion, and his amazing white electric piano, which was custom made for him in Japan by Yamaha.

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