JOHNNY O'KEEFE
I'm Counting On You
(Alicia Evelyn [attrib. elsewhere to Charles Kipps])
Australia 1961
#1 Sydney #1 Melbourne #4 Brisbane #1 Adelaide #9 Perth

Johnny O'Keefe (1935-1978), known in Australia as "The Wild One", "The King of Rock'n'Roll" or just "J. O'K.", was a pioneer Australian rocker, a chart topping artist in his home country. A TV mini-series about his life was made in 1985, Shout! The Story of Johnny O'Keefe. The definitive biography is Damian Johnstone's The Wild One (2001).

Alicia Evelyn, a prolific songwriter, wrote Pepper-Hot Baby, a #12 hit in the USA in 1955 for Jaye P. Morgan, and she co-wrote, with Van McCoy, Jackie Wilson's I Get The Sweetest Feeling (1968, #34 USA).

Johnny O'Keefe visited Alicia Evelyn in New York after hearing I'm Counting On You being played on a piano in the offices of Aaron Schroeder Music. The two met again, with Johnny's wife Maureen, in New York in 1973, and Alicia Evelyn visited the O'Keefes in Sydney in 1975, when she took part in the Johnny O'Keefe episode of This Is Your Life. (Damian Johnstone, The Wild One: The Life and Times of Johnny O'Keefe, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2001.)

Johnny O'Keefe also recorded Alicia Evelyn's I Thank You and Heaven Sent in 1962. At least two other Alicia Evelyn compositions were recorded in Australia in the 60s: Dee-dee Darling (Dig Richards, 1961) and I Have To Laugh (Tony Brady, 1962).

Buy At Sanity.com.au

Suggestion from Terry Stacey.

JOHNNY NASH
I'm Counting On You
(Alicia Evelyn [attrib. elsewhere to Charles Kipps])
USA 1961
Original version

Listen: Johnny Nash - I'm Counting On You.mp3

Single on ABC-Paramount, an uncredited production by Phil Spector.

This was a mid-1961 release; Johnny O'Keefe's version came out in September.

Sources claiming that this was a recording of Don Robertson's I'm Counting On You, a different song, are in error (see below).

Thanks to Tony Watson for spotting this one, and to Mick Patrick for confirmation via Spectropop Group.

ELVIS PRESLEY
I'm Counting On You
(Don Robertson)
USA 1956
Red herring

Same title but not the same song as 'I'm Counting On You' by Johnny O'Keefe.

On the 1956 RCA album Elvis Presley. Also recorded, for example, by Kitty Wells (1956).

Further reading: Songwriter Don Robertson tells the story behind this song at his fine website, donrobertson.com. He is mistaken on one point: the song recorded by Johnny Nash was Alicia Evelyn's I'm Counting On You, not Don's song of that title.

FREEMAN BROTHERS
I'm Counting On You
(Julius Bannerman - Jerry Freeman - Johnny Freeman)
USA 1964
Red herring

Same title but not the same song as 'I'm Counting On You' by Johnny O'Keefe.

Single on Mala #485, also released on Mala #553 in 1967.

On CD: Anthologised on Kent's Birth Of Soul Vol. 2.

Later versions:

PETULA CLARK
I'm Counting On You
(Alicia Evelyn [attrib. here to Charles Kipps])
UK 1962
Later version

Single on Pye label, also on Vogue (France) EP Chante en Anglais, 1962. See discography at petulaclark.net.

This is the same song as Johnny O'Keefe's Australian hit. The songwriter is given as Charles Kipps, and a song by this title appears in his repertoire at BMI. The title does not appear in Alicia Evelyn's repertoire at BMI.

There doesn't seem to be any doubt that Alicia Evelyn wrote the Johnny O'Keefe song, and she is also credited on the Johnny Nash single, so there appears to be an error in documentation somewhere along the way.

Because of its connection with the Phil Spector-produced record by Johnny Nash, Petula Clark's version appears on the 2002 Sanctuary album Wallpaper of Sound: The Songs of Phil Spector and the Brill Building, compiled by Mick Patrick and John Reed. See the review at Spectropop Recommends.

Thanks to David Overett for the version alert.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN WITH JOHNNY O'KEEFE
I'm Counting On You
(Alicia Evelyn [attrib. elsewhere to Charles Kipps])
Australia 2002
Later version

On the 2002 album (2).

Duet created by dubbing over the late Johnny O'Keefe's recording.

Thanks to Terry Stacey.

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