Jack JerseyJack (Willem) de Nijs, artist name Jack Jersey (18 July 1941 — 26 May 1997), was a Dutch singer, composer, arranger, lyricist and producer of light music (popular music) who worked for national and international artists. He had his own production company, J.R. (Jeetzi-Rah) which means "Creation" / "Creational world" in Hebrew. He discovered artists such as André Moss, Nick MacKenzie and Frank & Mirella. During his life, Jack de Nijs and the artists he represented were good for selling more than twenty million records
The first yearsJack de Nijs was born in 1941 at Tjimahi in West Java, Indonesia. At the age of seven he received a Ukulele as a present, and was soon allowed to play in the local village band. A young age he showed talent as a musician and composer. In 1951 the family moved to the Netherlands, where he came into contact with a different life and music style. During high school he started his first band, named The Dixies Stampers, with jazz and dixieland music.After leaving high school, he went to a college for Higher Hotel Management in Maastricht. Here he formed his second band, a quartet known as The Four Sweeters and afterwards he continued in Jack and Woody. All together they released more than ten records. None of them were successful though.
Then he became the lead singer of The Loosers, from 1964 tot 1967. They were signed by CNR that promoted them and some other bands as Beat from Holland. In 1965 their first single Since You're Gone / Mexico was released. Only the first, however, is a beat song. The second is a cover version of Elvis Presley from his film Fun in Acapulco (1963). It was written by the Peruvian composer Francis Lopez. Over there, in Peru, this song became a number #1 hit.
After receiving his diploma for Higher Hotel Management (BBA), Jack gave up his aspiration to make a success of the music business. In the meantime he married Ella and started to work for an multinational.
ReturnMusic was too much appealing and he decided to give it a try again. He changed his approach and started working as a producer and composer for a record company. After teaming up with Henk Voorheijen he got a contract with Polydor Records for 500 Dutch Guilders a month. His first hit Oh...Antoinette was released by Leo den Hop. One of the following hits was Gina Lollobrigida (about the so called actress). Himself, he released Sofia Loren (1970) on a single. Both songs were recorded by the singer Ray Miller (Rainer Müller) as well who had two hits with them in Germany.
In 1971 De Nijs recorded Blame It On The Summersun under the artist name Ruby Nash. This was his first English language recording. He started his own production company, and Henk Voorheijen participated for business matters. Meanwhile, he was father of a son and a daughter who he, however, hardly saw.
Jack JerseyA couple of singles later he changed his name to Jack Jersey and continued singing in English. Jersey refers to the British island near France. It embarked a successful period in his music career, with some international hits.
His first English single I'm Calling (1973) was declared Alarm Disc at Radio Veronica and became his first mayor hit in the Netherlands and Belgium. Hits that followed were In The Still Of The Night, Papa Was A Poor Man and Blue Brown Eyed Lady. His biggest hit was Sri-Lanka ... My Shangri-Lah that charted in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
In 1973 he was member of the groupe Brabants Bont, with artists like Yvonne de Nijs, Leo den Hop, Jan Boezeroen en Wil de Bras. In 1974 his album In The Still Of The Night peaked at #3 in the album top of Radio Hilversum 3.
Invited by Capitol Records he record a live-album in 12 hours in Nashville with The Jordanaires, the group that had accompanied Elvis Presley for many years. (This entire live-album recording took only 12 hours, while in the Netherlands that applies to a recording of only 1 song.) For the European market it was released as I Wonder and for the American market as Honky Tonk Man.
In the meantime he produced and composed for many other artists, like Nick MacKenzie, André Moss and The Shorts. They had international hits with songs of Jack de Nijs. His songs were recorded by, among others, Zangeres Zonder Naam, Andy Tielman and the Tielman Brothers and the American singer Donna Lynton.
During his life, Jack de Nijs and the artists he represented were good for selling more than twenty million records
Radio Veronica Jingle
Radio Veronica was the first radio station in the Netherlands to introduce jingles. Of the thousands of jingles used by Veronica, 100 jingles were selected and they were released on an LP record in 1977. Jack Jersey also appeared a jingle on this elpee/LP.
This His latest flame is sung in Dutch, better said, spoken, like several jingles on this elpee/LP: 8 januari is Elvis dag op 538. (In English: January 8, it's Elvis day on 538) The compilation of this elpee/LP was made by two well known Dutch disc-jockeys; Lex Harding and Adje Bouman.
In May 1982 he had a hit with Puerto de Llansa (Lady Rose) in the Netherlands. Just a couple of months later he was appointed Honorary citizen for it by the Mayor of Llançà, a fishing village on the Costa Brava in Spain.
Tour de France1978: Certificate signed by Frie Thijs (secretary) and Rini Wagtmans (chairman) on behalf of the organizing committee, as a token of gratitude, because Jack Jersey's cooperation has made it possible to realize the Tour de France arrival in St. Willebrord. (The prologue in Leiden, the 1st stage part A from Leiden to St. Willebrord that was won on 30 June 1978 by Jan Raas.
In 1985 and again in 1986 polyps were observed on his vocal folds. A couple of years later, in 1988, he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his pharynx and larynx.
He underwent surgery and radiation treatments several times. After these heavy treatments, he lived on a daily regimen of significant medication, including analgesics, but he never recovered completely. Nine years later, May 26, 1997, he died of the complications of his disease in the arms of his wife at 55 years old.
Although already severely ill, in February 1997 he agreed with Ton van Beusekom of EMI to release a double-cd, entitled Thanks For All The Years. He knew that this album would probably be his last. He chose songs about countries he had visited. He included the song My Father's House which he wrote especially about his parental home in which he was born, some songs as a tribute/an ode to Elvis Presley and further hits such as I'm Calling (1973), In The Still Of The Night (1974), Gone Girl (1975), Papa Was A Poor Man (1974) and Sri Lanka ... my Shangri-La (1980).).
After he passed away, his music was still recorded by various artists, such as Frans Bauer and Marianne Weber: Wat ik zou willen (What I would want) and René Schuurmans, but also internationally, as by Frank Michael.
In early 2007 EMI released his collection Asian Dreams and Greatest Hits. In addition to two CDs, it includes a DVD containing, among other things, the musical voyage report he made for the Dutch AVRO Television in 1977 by his native Indonesia directed by Theo Ordeman, a well known Dutch television director. In addition, there are TV clips from historical television programs, such as from TopPop (The Netherlands) and Musikladen (Germany).
On May 24, 2009, a Jack Jersey Festival was held for the first time in the centre of his home town of Roosendaal, on the Oude Markt and in the Raatskelder. Various artists performed in his honour, including his discoveries Frank & Mirella and Nick MacKenzie. The Raatskelder has a historical connection with the singer-songwriter, because he had a music studio there in the attic in the sixties.
In May and August 2017, at the ceiling of the museum Tongerlohuys in his home town, an exhibition was sent to numerous well-known Roosendaal icons, as well as to him. During this tribute, 26 May was also the day he passed away 20 years ago.
On March 10, 2018 on the occasion of the celebration of 750 years Roosendaal under the motto:The DNA of Roosendaal a portrait of Jack was also made by 15 professional graffiti-artists.