Capek, John

John Capek. Composer, arranger, keyboardist, producer, b Prague, Czechoslovakia, 26 Nov 1946; Chemical Engineering Diploma (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) 1971. The son of a concert pianist and his wife who survived Auschwitz, John Capek moved with his parents to Melbourne, Australia, at three. He studied piano as a child and, influenced by Little Richard, Ray Charles, and Chuck Berry, played with local rock bands in his teens. In 1970 he co-founded The Carson County Band, which (as Carson) became one of Australia's most popular blues bands. Capek left it in 1971 to teach school and play in the bands King Harvest, Flite, and Hanagan, and immigrated to Canada in 1973.

In Toronto Capek played keyboards and arranged songs for pop musicians including Marc Jordan, Ian Thomas, Dan Hill, and Dianne Brooks, and produced recordings for Hill, Ken Tobias, The Good Brothers, Downchild, and Amy Sky. He formed a songwriting partnership with Jordan and moved to Los Angeles in 1979, placing songs with Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Manhattan Transfer, and many others. As a keyboardist he worked on numerous recordings with producers Humberto Gatica and John Boylan. In 1991, under the name John Capek & The Family of Man, he released his debut recording, Indaba (Mesa Blue Moon).

He returned to Toronto in 1995 and continued writing music for Stewart, Cher, Amanda Marshall, Bonnie Raitt, and others. In 2002 he produced UK-based group The Alice Band.

Appointments

He became a director of the Songwriters Association of Canada and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and was a founding faculty member of the songwriting program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2005.

Songwriting

An exceptionally prolific pop songwriter, Capek stood apart from his peers through his use of complex harmonies more associated with Tin Pan Alley than the late 20th century. Capek has written more than 1,500 songs. With Jordan as lyric writer, his biggest success has been "Rhythm of My Heart," which Rod Stewart included on his multi-platinum album Vagabond Heart (1991). Other significant Capek hits include "Take Me Home," recorded by Cocker on Have A Little Faith (1994) and featured in the film Blown Away (1994), "Promises," on Amanda Marshall (1996), and "Love So High," on Cher's Living Proof (2002). His songs have also been recorded by artists in the Czech Republic, including Karel Gott and Helena Vondrackova, and used in films such as Cocktail (1988), The Silencer (1992) and The Perfect Storm (2000).