MusicDish e-Journal - December 15, 2018
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Ritchie Yorke
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Ritchie Yorke stands as Australia's most long-serving and experienced rock music commentator. Starting out in Brisbane as the rock columnist for TV Week magazine in 1964, Yorke departed these shores in early 1966 en route to London, where he acted as International Manager for Australia's leading pop star, Normie Rowe. After a stint handling International Promo for Island Records and pushing the undoubted charms of the Spencer Davis Group, he turned down an offer to manage Traffic and headed for the New World in 1967.

Ensconced in Toronto, Yorke ultimately was appointed the first full-time rock music writer for the national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. He quickly built up an historic career at the Globe while hosting radio shows on Canada's first FM rock radio station CHUM FM and introducing all of the acts which played at the historic Rock Pile venue, including the likes of Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Deep Purple.

His writings were widely syndicated around the world and for a time, he was Canadian Editor of Rolling Stone. He considered his mentor to be Jerry Wexler, the late Atlantic Records owner who took rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues ( a term he actually coined) to greater heights.

An auspicious connection with John Lennon in the late 60s led to Yorke's involvement with the Lennons in the Montreal Bed-In for Peace and the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, John's first concert performance outside The Beatles. In sympathy with the Lennon's War Is Over peace campaign, Yorke became their International Peace Envoy and toured the world on their behalf.

Along the way, he penned liner notes for a flock of distinguished artists, including Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Big Mama Thornton, Neil Sedaka, Jerry Butler and B. B. King. Yorke returned to his homeland of Australia in late 1986 and began writing for the country's second largest newspaper, The Brisbane Sunday Mail. After 20 years in that chair, he decided to return to the freelance world.

After attending a special celebration of John Lennon's posthumous birthday in Iceland in October, 2007, Yorke started work on a long-overdue book about the Lennon's War Is Over peace period and his own memoirs. The Lennon book is scheduled to be published in late 2010, at the same time as Yorke and his associates launch the Peacebeliever campaign.


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