Memories of Jack O'Hagan OBE(OX 1911) by Jock O'Keefe (OX 1959)
Monday, 2 October 2023
"It's a long way to the Top, but watch out for Rock n' Roll"
Back through the ages, the genres of music have jumped from classical to swing to the so-called evils of Rock 'n Roll. Along the journey Old Xavs have played their part, but few as prolific as Jack O'Hagan.
Coming from good Irish stock the family placed Jack in the hands of the Jesuits at St Patrick's College, Melbourne. We are not quite sure why, but he transferred as a boarder to Xavier, then back to St Patrick's.
Both St Pats and Xavier each credit Jack as being one of their star pupils.
Jack took piano lesson, and on Friday and Saturday evenings he had to be home early to play piano for patrons who frequented his parent's pub in Fitzroy. You get the picture; loud sing - a- longs and most out of tune.
His first real gig was playing piano to entertain wealthy customers who strolled through Allans Music Store in the busy, bustling Melbourne CBD. Allans were shareholders in radio 3LO, and 3AW so Jack became a muso in their station orchestras.
As a side hustle Jack kept himself busy composing songs, in fact 600 songs between 1916 - 1961. A total of 120 Classics became best sellers in sheet music sales, some of those included:
Along the Road to Gundagai
Where the dog sits on the Tucker Box
That old Bush Shanty
Our, Don Bradman
Our, Margorie (Jackson)
....and 115 other published songs sold around the world.
At 3AW, Jack became their in-house jingle writer and became so proficient he spent 14 years @ a Melbourne ad agency crafting commercials for Lipton Tea, Gilbey's Gin and lots more.
As musical tastes changed sales of Jack's records were in steep decline due to popularity of portable radios and the General Public fell in love with the emergence of Rock 'n Roll.
What a talent? Jack retired and was buried at the Brighton Cemetory.