Mick Ronson Discography -

[Johnny Average and Nikki Wills] Having recorded Ian Hunter's "Short Back N Sides" album in 1981, Ronson decided to form a band, the New York Yanquis - with his friend Mick Barakan. Rounding out the band were friends from Woodstock who, like Barakan, used to play with the Falcons. The Falcons were a fixture at Bearsville studios in Woodstock around 1980/81. The band had an ever-changing line-up, depending upon who was available - and most members used pseudonyms. Mick Barakan was known as Shane Fontayne (sometimes spelt Shayne and/or Fontane), a name he has kept to this day.

Mick first recorded with the Falcons in 1980, on the "Some People" album by The Johnny Average Band. This was really the Falcons in disguise, and it was the first LP to feature all members who would later end up in the New York Yanquis. Ronson played on the song "Gotta Go Home" - this was also available on a single in USA and England, as the B-side to "Ch Ch Cherie". For the record, Johnny Average's real name was Mick Hodgkinson - he was the Falcons' main keyboard player. This album also featured his talented wife (and the Falcons' lead singer) Nicole Wills. Ronson later played on the eponymous debut album by her mid-80s band The Phantoms. Quick links:

Johnny Average Band discography | Nicole Wills discography | tribute to Mick Hodkinson | The Phantoms

- Johnny Average Band discography -

[Johnny Average - Some People LP]

Some People - 1980 LP

Tracklist: Thermostat / Whatcha Gonna Do (When the Reggae Breaks Your Heart) / Shake Your Shake / Some People / Wake Up Call / Ch Ch Cherie / Gotta Go Home / Heaven Bound / Public Image / Give Us All the Money

- USA LP: Bearsville BRK 3514
- Germany LP: Bearsville 203289320

Comments: the album is credited to The Johnny Average Band featuring Nikki Wills - who both are pictured on the front cover.

    Johnny Average Band - singles:

  • 1981 - Ch Ch Cherie / Public Image (Bearsville 102 768) - GERMANY pictured below left
  • 1981 - Ch Ch Cherie / Wake Up Call (Bearsville 102 768) - HOLLAND pictured below middle
  • 1981 - Ch Ch Cherie / Gotta Go Home (Bearsville BSS 49671) - USA
  • 1981 - Ch Ch Cherie / Gotta Go Home (Bearsville WIP 6676) - UK
  • 1981 - Ch Ch Cherie / Gotta Go Home (Bearsville 03S140) - SPAIN pictured below right
  • 1981 - Some People / Shake Your Shake (Bearsville BSS 49733) - USA

  • [ChChCherie - Germany]    [ChChCherie - Holland]    [ChChCherie - Spain]

- Nicole Wills discography -

[Nicole Wills] Nicole Wills was the lead vocalist with the Johnny Average Band, and she was also married to Johnny Average at the time. She had moved to Woodstock in the early 70s and soon teamed up with local bands - most notably The Falcons (who was the blueprint for Johnny Average Band). She eventually got signed to Bearsville Records - was managed by Albert Grossman and toured US and Europe in support of her solo album "Tell Me", released in 1983.

Mick Ronson was not involved with Nicole's solo album, but this is a really great album - and it features a stellar cast of musicians - many who used to play with Mick: Shane Fontayne (guitar), Mike Braun (drums), Leigh Foxx (bass), Murray Weinstock (keyboards), John Holbrook (guitars, keyboards), George Young (sax), Wells Kelly (congas), Ann Lang and John Hall (backing vocals).

Ronson later played on the eponymous debut album by her mid-80s band The Phantoms, of course (see link below). Nicole hasn't been active on the music scene for the last decade or so, but in 2005 she made a welcome return by providing backing vocals for the Hold Steady album "Separation Sunday"!

[Nicle  WWlls - Tell Me LP]

Tell Me - 1983 LP

Tracks: Fallin' / Tell Me How To Make You Love Me / Some Guys Have All The Luck / It Would't Have Made Any Difference / Tenderness On The Block / What You Do To Me / Isn't It Always Love / Maybe / It'll Be Me / Never Take The Place Of You / *Hold Me Tight / *Beautiful Picture Of You

- USA LP: Bearsville 7599-23656-1
- Japan CD (2007): no bonus tracks
- Japan CD (2008): Bearsville VICP-63735 [with two bonus tracks]

Comments: the Japanese limited LP style paper sleeve edition from 2008 adds two bonus tracks (marked with *) previously only available on a 4CD Japanese box set from 1996 called "Bearsville Box Set" (Bearsville PCCY-00909) - a compilation of material recorded for the Bearsville label in the period 1970-1984.

[Nicole Wills]

What You Do To Me - 1982 7" single

Side A: What You Do To Me
Side B: Isn't It Always Love

- Belgium 7" single: Bearsville 104.976

Trivia: both tracks are from the album "Tell Me" (although the sleeve imprint reads "from the forthcoming album 'NICOLE WILLS')

other singles (all credited to NIKKI WILLS):

  • Some Guys Have All The Luck (USA 1981 mono/stereo promo - Bearsville BSS 49868)
  • Some Guys Have All The Luck (Italy 1981 - Bearsville BRN 2006)
  • Isn't It Always Love (USA 1982 mono/stereo promo - Bearsville BSS 50038)

- Mick Hodgkinson tribute -

Mick Hodgkinson / aka Johnny Average died of cancer on 19 September 2007 in Kingston New York, aged 61. He was born in Rainworth, Nottinghamshire, England but moved to Woodstock New York in the 70s, to play with Elizabeth Barraclough. He then formed (and led) Johnny Average And The Falcons who later became The Johnny Average Band. He was a gifted songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and pianist and over the years he worked with with Ian Kimmet, Mick Ronson, Meatloaf, Brian Briggs, Billy J. Kramer, Jerry Dorsey, Terry Dactyl And The Dinosaurs and Brett Marvin & The Thunderbolts.

On 28 October 2007, a Tribute To The Music Of Johnny Average was held at Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Studio - featuring original members of The Falcons & The Johnny Average Band along with many special guests:

  • Robbie Dupree (Steal Away, Hot Rod Hearts)
  • Larry Hoppen (Orleans/ Dance With Me, Still The One)
  • Ann Lang (Joe Cocker, Leon Russel)
  • Nicole Wills
  • Ian Kimmet (The Jooks)
  • Randy Ciarlante ( Levon Helm's Barn Burners)
  • Frank Campbell (Cindy Cashdollar)
  • Ralph E Boy Legnini (Todd Rundgren)
  • Marc Kunkle
  • Eric Parker (Joe Cocker)
  • Joe Cassetta
  • Tom Nicholson
  • John Holbrook (produced the Eisley Brothers, Natalie Merchant)
  • Mary Lou Arnold (Todd Rundgren)
Videoclips from the tribute concert and Elizabeth Barraclough (playing "Covered Up In Aces" in Bearsville NY 1978 with Mick Hodgkinson on keyboards) are available on YouTube.

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