Johnny Clegg

Johnny Clegg

"Songwriter, dancer, guitarist and vocalist - in that order."

Johnny Clegg was born on 7th June 1953 in Rochdale, Lancashire, England and raised in Israel, Zambia, South Africa, and Rhodesia before finally settling in Johannesburg in 1965.

Young Johnny, who had been learning to play Spanish guitar, was 14 when he met a Zulu gardener, Charlie Mzila, playing street music near Clegg’s home. For two years he learned the fundamentals of Zulu culture and traditional "inhlangwini" dancing as he accompanied Mzila to the migrant labour haunts - from hostels to rooftop shebeens. It was the height of apartheid, and Johnny Clegg’s involvement with black musicians and his love for the music often led to him being arrested for trespassing on government property and contravening the Group Areas Act.

Johnny Clegg’s fast-growing reputation finally reached the ears of Sipho Mchunu (born 1951), a migrant Zulu worker who had come to Johannesburg looking for work. Intrigued, Mchunu tracked Johnny down and challenged him to a guitar playing competition, sparking off a friendship and musical partnership that helped transform the face of South African music. That was 1969.

After Clegg completed his education, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology and Political Science from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, he spent four years as a lecturer.

Their musical breakthrough came in 1976 when, as "Johnny and Sipho", they secured a major recording deal and produced their first hit, "Woza Albert". Under the guide of producer Hilton Rosenthal, the band Juluka was formed around these two core members. However, because their music was in total contravention of the cultural segregation laws of the time, it was subjected to censorship and banning, and their only way to access an audience was through touring. In late 1979 their first album, "Universal Men", was released. It received no airplay but became a word-of-mouth hit. They were able to tour in Europe and had two platinum and five gold albums, becoming an international success. Juluka was finally disbanded in 1985 as Mchunu returned to his roots in Zululand to become a livestock farmer.

Later that year, Johnny Clegg released his first solo album "Third World Child".

He also forms Savuka, another inter-racial crossover band in 1986, blending African music with European (especially Celtic) influences. One EP and four albums were released between 1986 and 1993 before that band was terminated.

Since then, Johnny has recorded solo (briefly reforming Juluka for one album and a tour), including his latest studio album "New World Survivor" in 2002 and continues to perform live with resounding success, including his support of Nelson Mandela’s "46664 AIDS Awareness Concerts" in South Africa and Norway during 2004 and 2005.

In France he is affectionately known as "le Zoulou blanc", the white Zulu.

He receive the OBE 1n 2015 (at age 61) for his contribution to music and the struggle against apartheid
In Groups:

Johnny Clegg Discography


MINC(L) 1 140 Johnny Clegg Third World Child(LP, Album) Minc MINC(L) 1 140 South Africa 1985 Sell This Version
Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu / Ladysmith Black Mambazo Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu / Ladysmith Black Mambazo - South Africa: Cologne Zulu Festival Network Medien GmbH, World Network & WDR Germany 1992 Sell This Version
CDEMM (WI) 067 Johnny Clegg A South African Story (Live At The Nelson Mandela Theatre)(CD, Album) EMI Music SA (PTY) Ltd. CDEMM (WI) 067 South Africa 2003 Sell This Version
Johnny Clegg Best Of Live At The Nelson Mandela Theatre (Album) Capitol Music France 2004 Sell This Version
STIDCD 106 Johnny Clegg "One Life"(CD, Album) Rhythm Dog Music STIDCD 106 South Africa 2006 Sell This Version
JC0001 Clegg* At The Baxter Theatre Cape Town: Best, Live & Unplugged(CD, Album, Dig) Not On Label (Johnny Clegg Self-released) JC0001 South Africa 2006 Sell This Version
APR CD 1124 Johnny Clegg Human(CD, Album) Appleseed Recordings APR CD 1124 US 2010 Sell This Version
APR CD 1138 Johnny Clegg At The Baxter Theatre Cape Town: Best, Live & Unplugged(CD, Album) Appleseed Recordings APR CD 1138 US 2014 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

JM 119 Jonathan Clegg* / Sipho Mchunu Jonathan Clegg* / Sipho Mchunu - Sengikhumbula Emakhabe Leni(7", Single) Jamloti JM 119 South Africa 1976 Sell This Version
Juluka / Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu Juluka / Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu - Love Is Just A Dream (Tatazela) (Single) CNR Music France Austria 1997 Sell This Version
MBO 664934 2 Juluka, Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu Juluka, Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu - Crocodile Love(CD, Maxi) Mambo MBO 664934 2 Germany 1997 Sell This Version
SPCD 1717 Johnny Clegg In My African Dream(CD, Single, Promo) EMI France SPCD 1717 France Unknown Sell This Version


PUTU 127-2/M127-2 Johnny Clegg And Juluka Johnny Clegg And Juluka - A Johnny Clegg And Juluka Collection(CD, Comp) Putumayo World Music PUTU 127-2/M127-2 US 1996 Sell This Version
Johnny Clegg Anthology (Comp) Rhythm Safari Australia 1999 Sell This Version
CRMCD 152 Juluka / Savuka* Featuring Johnny Clegg Juluka / Savuka* Featuring Johnny Clegg - The Best Of Juluka / Savuka Featuring Johnny Clegg(CD, Comp) Universal, Electromode Music CRMCD 152 South Africa 2002 Sell This Version
Johnny Clegg / Juluka / Johnny Clegg & Savuka Johnny Clegg / Juluka / Johnny Clegg & Savuka - Spirit Is The Journey - The Best Of (Comp) EMI Music France Europe 2010 Sell This Version