John Helliwell, born on February 15, 1945, in Todmorden, Yorkshire, England, is a celebrated English saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work with the progressive rock band Supertramp. Helliwell’s musical journey began early in life, learning to play the clarinet and saxophone, and he later expanded his skills to include the flute, keyboards, and various woodwind instruments.
Before joining Supertramp, Helliwell played in various bands, including the Alan Bown Set and the Johnny Harris Orchestra. In 1973, he joined Supertramp, replacing founding member Dave Winthrop. Helliwell’s addition to the band marked the beginning of the classic lineup that would go on to achieve international success with hit albums such as “Crime of the Century” (1974), “Even in the Quietest Moments” (1977), and “Breakfast in America” (1979). Helliwell’s distinctive saxophone sound and backing vocals became a defining element of Supertramp’s music, contributing to the band’s unique and enduring style.
In addition to his work with Supertramp, Helliwell pursued various side projects and collaborations. He released a solo album, “Ever Open Door” (1984), and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, among other ensembles. Helliwell also formed the band Crème Anglaise, which allowed him to explore jazz and other musical genres.
Throughout his career, Helliwell has demonstrated a commitment to education and fostering the next generation of musicians. He has conducted workshops, masterclasses, and has been a featured artist for Selmer, a prestigious instrument manufacturer. Helliwell’s passion for music education and his dedication to supporting up-and-coming talent has had a lasting impact on the music community.
John Helliwell’s contributions to the world of music span various genres and styles, from progressive rock to jazz. As a saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and educator, Helliwell has left an indelible mark on the music industry, inspiring countless musicians and leaving a rich legacy for future generations to explore.
Page last updated 3/19/2023.