Sunday, July 4, 2021 12:00 pm
People in their 50s and 60s will remember this part in Ebenezer Obey’s music:
Monday John, Olola Baba Femi
Obey Obey Commander,
Below is the story of the Monday John, the guitarist in that lyric:
Monday John (1945-2012): Tribute to an unsung guitar maestro
By Olasunkanmi Sukky Adeleke
Many people are familiar with the music of Ebenezer Obey, but not many people are familiar with a guitar genius who contributed significantly to the remarkable success of Ebenezer Obey in the music industry.
Monday Olufemi John was born in 1945.
He was a Fine Arts illustrator who played the guitar intermittently.
In the ’60s, he decided to become a professional guitarist and joined Roy Gabriel’s Highlife Band.
He later joined Bobby Benson Band and after that, he joined Tunde Nightingale’s Band.
He played with Nightingale at many local and international shows, and it was during one of these shows in London that he was spotted by Ebenezer Obey who later recruited him in 1971.
He was so good at playing the guitar and soon became Obey’s lead guitarist.
He appeared on 28 of Obey’s albums until 1978 when he retired for a number of years.
He returned in 1984 with his own group, New Wave Juju Band with musicians like Sweet Tokunbo, Big Honest Setonji, Willie Bestman and the Genius Jerry.
The New Wave Band later moved to Chicago, USA.
Monday John relocated to London many years later and he was there until his death after suffering a massive stroke in February, 2012 at the age of 67.
Monday John was a great and maverick guitarist whose dexterity and repertoire was legendary.
You couldn’t miss his fantastic guitar solos if you were familiar with Ebenezer Obey’s music.
His guitar riffs were simply fantastic!
He played many guitar solos (or melodic passages) of many great classics on his guitar in many of Obey’s tracks.
Notable among the classics are Frank Sinatra’s STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT and Osvaldo Farres’ QUIZAS QUIZAS QUIZAS which became a massive universal hit for Bobby Capo in 1947 and was later translated into English and performed by many musicians like Gordon Jenkins, Bing Cosby, Fairouz, Nat King Cole, Ames Brothers, Doris Day, Trini Lopez, etc.
That is the melodic passage (if I am not mistaken) in Obey’s song, “Eran ki ni ologini o? Eran ologbo…Eran kini ologini o?…Eran to nba ni sere…”
Behind every great musician are other great musicians in their own rights.
Monday Olufemi John was one of such!
May his soul continue to rest in peace.
*Adeleke is a public affairs analyst