Joe Longthorne Show
The history of performers is as interesting as the history of a building sometimes, and Joe Longthorne is certainly proof of that. As a young lad growing up in Hull in a ‘gypsy’ community he was barred from over ten primary schools for fighting. No one could predict that this half deaf, dyslexic firebrand would one day become a legendary singer and performance artist.
At the age of four Joe’s parents put him into talent shows, perhaps to try and capture some of that spirit and help him make a living out of it, and he began to be noticed. As a teenager Joe performed on TV’s Junior Showtime, and he never looked back. In the 1980s Joe fronted his own television show and became a household name for brilliant impersonations of the likes of Tom Jones, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. Longthorne is famous for impersonating Shirley Bassey and singing ‘Hey Big Spender’ so well, that Bassey says that Joe does her better than she does herself.
Tragedy struck in the late 80s when Joe was diagnosed with lymphoma disease and undertook chemotherapy and treatment. This battle with cancer took its toll on his health and mental strength and he was declared bankrupt in the 90s.
Never one to take things lying down, Joe recovered from cancer and set about putting his life back on track. He helped fundraise money for cancer research in Leeds, where he received treatment. He continues to live with leukaemia, and help The Friends of the Leeds General Infirmary to raise money.
After his bone marrow transplant and recovery, he was determined to take his act on tour again. He produced a double platinum album, and conquered Las Vegas. He has performed in the Royal Variety Concerts and sung on stage at the London Palladium with Bob Hope.
Each year Joe Longthorne does a tour of the Blackpool Grand Theatre, for three weeks in September and October. The theatre, built in 1894 hosts over 200,000 visitors each year, and is well worth a visit during your stay in Blackpool. The gorgeous baroque, neo-classical architecture will take your breath away. The mosaic flooring, ornate decor and opulent ceiling paintings are a feast for the eyes. Conceived as a building by Frank Matcham, who constructed over 150 grand theatres, whose work is now considered part of England’s architectural heritage, the Blackpool Grand Theatre and Joe Longthorne Show, combines two great histories into one.