John D Hastings
About John D Hastings

About John D Hastings

My Dad, Richard and Mam, Olive added me to the family in August 1952. I weighed a whopping 14 lbs and unknown ounces as the baby scales only went up that far!

I went to Eston Infant School, then Eston Junior School. I was creative and sporty and at Eston County Modern School I played for the school football, cricket, basketball and table tennis teams.

School simply interrupted more important things in my life:

School simply interrupted the more important things in my life:

fishing, playing on Eston Hills and woods, building dens. My best friend Pete Rule and me would cycle to Ormesby station and catch a steam train to Glaisdale or Lealholm to fish on the River Esk. We took sandwiches and a bottle of pop and be out all day, coming home happy and hungry with a trout or grayling or two.

An apprenticeship with Head Wrightson in the shipbuilding industry followed when I left school at 16. I had started writing songs when I was about 15 and knew I was going to be a singer songwriter.

In my late teens

In my late teens

I joined Andy from Middlesbrough in a duo called Aces High. My singing skills evolved as we did the working men’s clubs and pubs, and I developed a thick skin from hecklers. The appreciation and applause were always far louder, giving me a real buzz from performing.

After going separate ways, I joined another band with three other local lads as lead singer and rhythm guitarist. We did the music circuit in North Yorkshire singing pop and rock covers. When we swapped to singing my songs the act caused a storm at gigs: The Stilettos were born!

Share my singer songwriter journey with me!

As was common in those days, I was born at home, a cosy council house in Nab Close, Eston. I joined my sister Joyce, age 5 and brother Pete, 2. Happy memories of days out on Saltburn and Redcar beaches; fish and chips in Whitby. I still visit every year, for a holiday with my wife, a family lunch with cousins and catching up with friends.

After singing in the barbers for a free haircut I joined the Sunday school choir.

There was always music playing in my house and Mam and Dad loved to go dancing. My Dad was a promising tenor singer as a teenager, but his family couldn’t afford professional singing lessons in those days. When he was older, friends and family would get him to sing at social gatherings as top entertainment. Guess that’s where I got my singing talent and love of public performance from!

I completed my 4 year apprenticeship with Head Wrightson as a fitter and turner.

The work was challenging and scary: huge machinery, hot, loud and dirty. There were some terrible (sometimes fatal) accidents on the shop floor long before health and safety rules had been properly thought out.

I learnt my trade whilst honing my creative side, singing and song writing.

Those years in the choir had been a great training for lead vocals and harmonies! Singing with Andy set me up for my next challenge. Joining as lead singer in a local band, we did the music circuit in North Yorkshire singing pop and rock covers.

When I suggested using my self-penned songs they were up for it

and thanks to Tommy, Alan and Cliff, The Stilettos began an exciting adventure full of tough times, good laughs and great music!

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