Check out this jewelry salesman!

Written by on 26 October 2020

While a lot of attention was on Johnny O’Keefe and his high energy songs and performances in the late 1950’s, there was another Australian doing well on the charts and his stage name was Col Joye.

Colin Fredrick Jacobsen was born on April 13 1937 in Sydney and his post school life began as a jewelry salesman before going into performing and recording with his backing group The KJ Quintet who would later become the more familiar name of the Joy Boys.

The Joy Boys featured Col’s brothers Keith and Kevin Jacobsen who became successes in the music industry themselves both on and off the stage.

Things started happening for Col when his third single “Bye Bye Baby” peaked at No. 3 and that effort was backed up by “Rockin Rollin Clementine” as it had also peaked at No. 3.

The ultimate success was achieved with the release of the fifth single “Oh Yeah, Uh Huh” as it reached No. 1 nationally and this was an important moment in history as Col Joye & The Joy Boys were the first Australians to top the national chart.

Between 1959 and 1962, Col Joye and the Joy Boys had four No. 1’s on the Sydney chart and performed in places like the now demolished Sydney Stadium with the best in the business locally and overseas on the bill.

Col featured regularly on the Australian version of Bandstand throughout the majority of its run and this helped maintain his popularity as he sang on the show along with artists like Little Pattie, Judy Stone and The Allen Brothers.

By 1965, Col’s recording career had already reached more than 50 singles, an impressive total considering most modern artists don’t release that many singles in their entire career and while he was still popular on Bandstand, he had to contend with the massive popularity of The Beatles.

Col went to South Vietnam with the likes of Little Pattie in August 1966 to entertain the armed forces there, he was in Nui Dat when Australian forces clashed with the Vietcong some five kilometres away at Long Tan, he was ‘kidnapped’ at Nui Dat by two sergeants while being evacuated in order for him to perform for those who missed out on his earlier performance.

The 1960’s continued to be a busy decade for Col as he continued with Bandstand, recorded music and looked after his music business interests but the decade ended in sadness as Cathy Wayne, a young singer who appeared on Bandstand and whose career was looked after by Col and his family was shot dead on stage in Da Nang, South Vietnam on July 20 1969 by an unknown assailant.

The 1970’s started well with “Come into My Life” peaking at No. 56 and Col would have at least three songs chart during the decade.

Another No. 1 hit would be scored and this time on the Go-Set charts in 1973 with “Heaven Is My Woman’s Love”, the song held No. 1 for two weeks and a spent a total of twenty-three weeks in the Top 40 making it fifth in top singles for 1973.

An album titled “A Little Bit of Country” with Little Pattie peaked at No. 86 giving Col success through the decade.

Col was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1981 and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1988 and the 1980’s also brought commercial success as his compilation albums peaked at No. 20 and No. 47.

Col’s life almost ended in 1990 as his tree pruning efforts for a neighbour ended up in a mishap that left him with serious injuries including being in a coma, he survived and by 1998 was back performing to the masses.

When Australian music stars of the 1950’s to the 1970’s assembled for “Long Way To The Top” concert tour, Col Joye was there to start proceedings by singing a number of his hits including “Bye Bye Baby” along with performing Johnny O’Keefe’s “Sing Sing Sing”, Keith and Kevin Jacobsen also appeared on stage to perform with their brother.

Col made an appearance on RocKwiz in 2015 and sounded fantastic as he performed “Bye Bye Baby” as he and other guests sang famous Australian songs on the popular TV program showing that even in his 70’s he still had his signature sound.

2018 saw Col Joye and Brian Henderson appear in a segment on Studio 10 telling about their careers, their decades of friendship and of course Bandstand which will forever make them known to Australians.

Over the course of writing this story, I’ve come to learn as I hope you the reader do that Col Joye is one of Australia’s greatest performers of all time, he has that special kind of charisma as hopefully you’ll see in the videos and the way he sings his songs should be enjoyed throughout time.

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