Vocalist, composer and guitarist

Bio details:
Born November, 1936, in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia, he spent a part of his youth in Scotland before continuing his schooling as a boarder at Christian Brothers’ College, Pretoria, as a twelve year old.   His parents were still living in Ndola at the time.  After completing high school he fell ill with pleurisy which ended the vision he had of a career in the military.  John then joined Roan Antelope Copper Mine before answering his military call-up in November, 1956, a calling which introduced him to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Rhodesia Regiment

Musical Career

Having been brought up in an environment where he was regularly exposed to music, be it as a listener, piano student, bugle player, choirboy or as a drummer in the CBC college band, John formed his first group, THE BUSHCATS, in Southern Rhodesia in 1958.  On of the band’s main influences of the time was that of Lonnie Donegan. The BUSHCATS played at various parties and functions and enjoyed exposure at the Windsor Lounge or Theo’s Corner bar as it was known.  After playing at Ndola’s Rutland Hotel the band’s popularity spread and they were in demand.   During these years military call-ups constantly plagued the band’s members and regularly interrupted the progress they were making.  Having said that, the band’s members used the time in the army to improve their musical skills, including composition!   In due course the BUSHCATS’ popularity continued to grow and the band appeared regularly on television as they progressed from a skiffle group to a folk quartet.  Pete Dene, one of the band’s original lead guitarists, later formed the DIAMONDS with Mike Shannon as lead singer.  Another of their guitarists, Harry Hayden, later joined the DYNAMICS.  Both the DIAMONDS and the DYNAMICS went on to become well established, and significant, features of the southern African music scene.

After moving to South Africa in the mid-60’s, John started to perform on the Johannesburg club circuit, notably at the “Nite Beat” and “Troubadour” coffee bars in Hillbrow.  His first residency was at a steakhouse in Kempton Park called “The Zambesi”.  The local music industry, however, considered him to be more of a composer than a singer or artists and his prolific pen was kept busy.  He started sharing his songs with other artists and gave “The U.D.I Song” to Nick Taylor.  The recording went straight to the top of the Rhodesian hit parade.  A number of works by John went to other well known artists on the local scene.

By the 60’s, John had moved to South Africa and teamed up with Steve van Kerken and Alan Goodwin in the NEW TRENDS. After a handful of performances by the trio they were approached to do an album.  John and Alan duly penned most of the material for this album and their big hit, “Gypsy Man”, became their trademark song.   The band performed at many prestigious venues during this time amongst which was an appearance at the Royal Command Performance at the coronation of King Sobhuza II of Swaziland where the played for, and met, the Duke and Duchess of York.

The group split in 1969 with the departure of Stevie van Kerken who was clearly destined for bigger things.  She went on to later marry legendary South African writer and producer, Mutt Lange.  Later in her career she shared the stage with icons such as Tina Turner and Elton John.    John continued to perform, write and record as a solo artist.

In 1973, driven by his observations of – and experiences with – the Rhodesian military,  he had an idea that the Rhodesian market would be receptive to a “Troopie Record”.  His idea did not receive enthusiastic endorsement from the music industry and so John, at his own expense, produced an album called “Songs Of Rhodesia”.  Nick Taylor assisted him closely with this project.   The release was an instant success and raced up the local music charts.  Although “Songs Of Rhodesia” did not contain any army or military songs, its success did confirm John’s suspicion that a “Troopie Record” would be a popular seller.   Due to other pressures and commitments at that time, the “Troopie Record” idea was shelved for a time although he did produce an album entitled “Life in Rhodesia” which was a hit for the New Zealand duo, the GREENSTONES.

It was 1976 before John was able to realise his dream of producing a “Troopie Record” with the release of an album called “Troopiesongs”.  It was an instant success and a seven single culled from the album, “Wish I Was A Blue Job”, surged to the top of the hit parade.  Encouraged by the response, he went on to produce a number of “Troopie Records”, amongst a host of other releases including highly successful records for the children’s market.

John is also involved in producing, having filled this role for bands such as Four Jacks & A Jill, Nick Taylor, Pat Gregory, John Berks, Johnny Collini, The Silver Threads, The Lilac Rose, The Greenstones and Kevin Hinds. His songs have been recorded by this artists as well. John has appeared in venues as diverse as America, Brazil and Australia, also representing South Africa at the Tokyo Song Festival (1970) where he sang “Round and Around”.  He has also received many awards for his compositions.

He continues to compose songs about Africa and travels widely throughout the worlds attending, and performing at, Rhodesian events.



Farewell Britannia (1969) Storm
Die Eerste Kersfeesnag (1969) Storm
Fairytales (1969) Storm. This was his first hit record.
Round and Round* (1970) Storm
Boom Sha-la-la-lo* (1971) Storm. This was written for John by Bruce Woodley of The Seekers while they were in South Africa.
Pasadena* (1972) Map
Every Day, Every Night* (1972) Map
Toy Train* (1973) Map
Hello Susan (1974) Map
Jock Of The Bushveld (1975) Map
Goodbye Is The Saddest Song* (1975) Map
Nomad Of The Kalahari (1976) Map
One Day He’ll Call Me Daddy (1976) Map
It’s Good To See You (1977) Jo’burg
Blue Brown Eyed Lady (1977) Jo’burg
Louie (1978) RSA
Bye Bye Butterfly (1979) EMI
Forever Young (1980) Gallo
The Electric Thing (1981) Gallo

He achieved seven successive hits on the South African charts (denoted with *), the only local artist to have achieved this.


Troopie Songs – Phase 1 (1970) Map
Troopie Songs – Phase 2 (1975) Map
Troopie Songs – Phase 3 (1977) Jo’burg
Troopie Songs – Phase 4 (1980) Gallo
Boom Sha-la-la-lo (1971) Storm
Johno (197?) Storm
Goodbye Is The Saddest Song (1975) Satbel
Wild And Beautiful And Free (1976) Satbel
The Best Of John Edmond (1976) Satbel
Rhodesia The Brave (1979) Trutone
Hit Songs Of John Edmond (197?) MFP
Immortal Hits (1980) Gallo
Country Tracks (1981) Gallo
From The Heart (1982) Gallo
Troopies In Exile (1982) Gallo
Love In The Country (1984) Gallo
All Night Razzle (1984) Principal. The BUSHCATS were re-formed for this recording.
The British South Africa Police Centenary Album (1989) RAM
Rhodesians Of The World (1992) RAM
All Time Rhodesian Evergreens (1999)
Troopiesongs Complete (1999)

John has also written a book entitled “The Story Of Troopie Songs And The Rhodesian Bush War” (1982).

In 1973 John compered the Vicky Leandros tour of South Africa and supported MIDDLE OF THE ROAD on their tour of the country.

Another one of John’s successes was the penning of “The U.D.I. Song” which was recorded by Nick Taylor and used by the BBC as the theme to a programme on Rhodesia and its Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

The British South Africa Police Centenary Album (1989) RAM