Indian-origin Rock & Roll Hall of Fame bassist Prakash John heats up Toronto

Prakash John (right) with son Jordan John
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame bassist Prakash John performing with his son Jordan John.


TORONTO: There are only a handful of Indian-origin musicians who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHF) and Toronto-based Prakash John is one of them.

Even though the information is not available anywhere on Google, it is said that Prakash John is the first virtuoso of Indian origin to be accepted into the RRHF in 1997, even before Freddie Mercury (born Faroukh Bulsara to a Parsi family) of Queen, who was inducted in 2001

Prakash, who attended the upscale Cathedral school in Mumbai, came to Canada in 1960 as a student and soon began his career in music. As I remember in the early 70s, he became famous by playing with Parliament-Funkadelic and later with the late rock legend Lou Reed and contemporary classic rock maestro Alice Cooper. He also played with many other well known musicians in the rock and roll world.

Prakash John bassist
Prakash John at the Lakeshore Mardi Gras festival in Toronto.

Prakash is known for his prowess on the bass guitar and plays soul and funk with great passion getting the crowd going. The grapevine has it that the great hockey legend Wayne Gretzky picked him and his band, then known as “The Lincolns”, to play at his wedding because he wanted his guests to get their ”fannies perpendicular (paraphrasing famous comedians Cheech and Chong)”  and shake a leg!

And he didn’t disappoint last week, the opening night of the Lakeshore Mardi Gras festival in Toronto. Playing in Jordan John’s (his son) band, he and the rest of the group got the audience on their feet. His son Jordan plays a mean guitar and is a real master at it with powerful vocals and great showmanship. Jordan’s younger brother also joined him on the microphone. All three family members were backed up by Dylan on guitar and Julian on drums.

They played many original numbers and also did a medley of Wilson Pickett tunes including “Funky Broadway” where I could’ve sworn I heard Jordan shout out ‘Bombay nightclub’ rather than ‘Broadway nightclub!’ Jordan further showcased his showmanship by getting the audience to join in with the famous “Na, na na na na…” chorus from the dance hit “Land of 1000 dances.”

Jordan then announced that it was recently his father’s birthday and the crowd broke into “Happy birthday to you…” Boy it was a sight to see and hear!”

The band also indulged in playing requests from the attendees!

However, all good things must end and so it was that Jordan John and his all star band finally sent home a multitude of adrenalin charged fans!

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