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  • Writer's pictureOzzie Adenborg

In loving memory of John Jakobsen

I will never forget the first time I met John Jakobsen. Saturday August 29, 2020. It was late at night, the pandemic took a break during the summer and a private tribute concert for Thin Lizzy took place in Horsens. During the afternoon I had meet up with Ronnie Atkins, seeing him for the first time after he got the cancer diagnosis and the covid lockdown. Naturally it was a very emotional day.

I remember Allan Delong and Michael Fast being at the gig and then, afterwards, there was this big man, really tall man, hovering over me, asking if I was the one writing a book about Pretty Maids, and I said »yes« and simultaneous backing off, trying to keep the distance. I had no idea who he was, but he went on and on about Pretty Maids and the beginning and how it’s more than Ken and Ronnie. He was backed up by his friends, and I tried to figure out who he was in the story of Pretty Maids and the only person making sense was the illusive John that I knew played with Ken Hammer in Roots. One of the few I hadn’t been able to track down.

I told John I would love to talk to him during other circumstances, as in when he was sober and less hostile. He never got back to me, but the meeting made other things happen. I met up with Hammer and asked my questions in a different way. You see, I always believed Pretty Maids was founded by Ken Hammer and Ronnie Atkins.I knew of course about Ken Hammer looking for a singer and all that, but I didn’t know the band was already called Pretty Maids when they went looking for Ronnie. With this fact, the story of Pretty Maids changed. John Jakobsen was indeed the first singer and bass player of Pretty Maids, not what would be Pretty Maids.

At the grand opening of the Heavy Horsens exhibition John was as important as all the other former members. For this, John thanked me profoundly. I asked him for a proper interview, so I could get the story right and all the details he remembered but Ken Hammer forgotten, he agreed but sadly we never got around to do it.

However, John told me he was the one who was assigned to pick up the alleged new singer Paul Christensen (to be Ronnie Atkins) at the railway station. Ken had asked him to take a look at the guy first, to see if he looked cool and would fit into their band. John took one look at Paul and decided to ditch him. He was wearing a puffy yellow jacket, nothing, absolutely nothing, rock’n’roll about it. Unfortunately for John - and fortunately for Paul - Paul had a friend with him, and this friend knew John so he spotted him before John had time to split. With this, John had no choice but to bring them back to the rehearsal room for an audition. The audition never happened that day, as the power went out, but that story is documented in the book, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Onward, after the release of »We Came To Rock«, John would always give me one of his fabulous bear hugs and say »thank you« every time we met, and often many times, as we met in the bar or mingling the room during the event.

I am grateful of John coming up to me that first time. He later explained his behavior, that no-one cared about the early members, the early history of Pretty Maids and he believed I wasn’t different, that I wouldn’t care either. A belief all of the former members from the first three albums supported, until they got their copy of »We Came To Rock« when they realized I aimed for the full picture, once and for all.

I made the book for the fans of Pretty Maids, but it turned out to be as much for all the members of the band, documenting their part of the history as equally important.

John and I didn’t get a lot of time to get to know each others, but when I was told John had passed away I mourned a friend. I still struggle with the idea of John not sitting at his usual place in Vinøl, next to Allan. We truly shared the love of Thin Lizzy and that subject alone could make a conversation of hours. John’s heart was as big as his hugs.

Rest in Peace John, it was an honor meeting you and get to know you. You will be missed. All my love to Pia, Johns family and his many friends.

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