SIXTIES pop star John Gaughan visited Stalybridge Congregational Church to share his extraordinary life story and how he found God.
John, now pastor of Driffield in Yorkshire, recalled how he had been healed after “20 years of chronic alcoholism”.
It left him going from being a member of the band Herman’s Hermits and the renowned song-writing team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway to living on the streets in Leeds and a failed suicide attempt.
John explained how he had enjoyed the trappings of fame but also experienced what it is like to be in the gutter.
He began song writing aged nine and by 14 was appearing in working men’s clubs where he began drinking. And by the time he was 17 he recognised he had a problem.
John was performing in a Bradford nightclub when Roger Cook, a writer who performed in the band Blue Mink, was so impressed with his own material he was invited to join their song-writing team in London.
And he was later asked to join Herman’s Hermits who were one of the biggest band of that era, playing Madison Square Gardens and the Hollywood Bowl, sharing bills with the Bee Gees and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
John, who performed Hermits’ hits ‘I’m into something good’ and ‘There’s a kind of hush’ to his audience in Stalybridge, quit the group in 1973 as alcohol was taking its toll. He also stopped song-writing.
He moved to Spain where he worked in nightclubs, but by 1985 he was drinking two-and-a-half bottles of vodka daily as his life had become “intolerable”.
He moved back to Britain but, having lost everything, had gone from appearing at Madison Square Gardens and the Hollywood Bowl to living on the streets of Leeds with the Salvation Army giving him food, shelter and second-hand clothes.
And it was at this low ebb he attempted suicide by jumping from a third-floor window and being lucky to survive.
He spent three months in hospital having multiple broken bones.
It was at this juncture of his life that John found religion.
He explained: “If somebody had told me then that I would be pastor of Driffield I would say they had gone mad.
“God had a plan and something left me. I never wanted another drink.
“Jesus changed my life and every song I write today is about him.”
Apart from his work in Driffield, John travels the UK singing and sharing his life story.