John MacDonald [Musician] – Bonici Profile

“I always love reading about Albert Bonici.” [John MacDonald] ‘ I worked for him way back in 1963. He decided to venture away from pop groups for a while and put together a variety show called  “Three’s Company”.  It starred Anita Harris , Steve Cameron, and Allan Bruce ( who was sacked by Albert shortly after the show started after various disagreements, and replaced by a Canadian Singer from England Ronnie Hall). I was a young instrumental supporting act at the ripe age of 15 on the show . ”  The 3’s Company variety show featuring Anita Harris, Steve Cameron, John MacDonald, and Ronnie Hall, are featured below. Anita Harris circa 1963Anita Harris [ Bonici archives circa 1963] bonici acts

Steve Cameron [circa 1963]

Steve Cameron [circa 1963]

Allan Bruce [circa 1963]

Scottish singer Allan Bruce, who recently toured Australia for radio and TV, plans to return later this year.  [Billboard magazine 15May61]

Ronnie Hall pic

John MacDonald - Three's Company, Grampian television [Aberdeen] 1963

John MacDonald – Three’s Company, Grampian television [Aberdeen] 1963


John MacDonald – Three’s Company/Grampian Television [circa 1963]: John was part of the summer tour for “3’s COMPANY” at age 15

Three's Company 1963

Three’s Company 1963

Three's Company press release

Three’s Company press release

John MacDonald - letter of recommendation

John MacDonald – letter of recommendation

John MacDonald

John MacDonald

We also did a TV series from Grampian in Aberdeen. Sadly no footage of the show was kept in there libraries – it was only a short weekly series. Alex Sutherland was the Musical Director for the TV show and the rest of the time we toured around the north east part of Scotland. Sadly it wasn’t the success Albert expected it to be and the show was spilt up. He later used Anita Harris for guest spots at the Two Red Shoes ballroom. Meanwhile, myself and Steve Cameron were sent to the Webster hall in Arbroath by Albert to finish our contract in a Chalmers Wood Show called “Holiday time” – one of the acts on that summer season we replaced was a virtually unkown comedian who was struggling with the local scottish audience because of his Liverpool accent. His name was Jimmy Tarbuck ! Great memories of Albert and his wife Betty.. He certainly was a legend in the North East of Scotland. Shortly after i finished the tour he had signed the Beatles and the rest is History as they say.” John MacDonald ‘One critic recently wrote regarding John’s performance: “Ace accordionist John Macdonald demonstrated his ability brilliantly. His skilful playing and infectious good humour were a winning combination.His expertise on the Piano Accordion is simply magical, coupled to his rapport with the patrons”. Another critic wrote: “Accordion player and Musical genius John Macdonald – displayed both technical and musical mastery of his chosen instrument. His ebullient personality endeared him to the audience.” John Macdonald started his Showbiz career in his native Scotland at an early age, firstly playing the drums, piano, then his chosen instrument the piano accordion.In those formative years John toured throughout Scotland as featured accordionist working many Summer Seasons on the Theatre circuit, and also appeared regulary on Grampian Television in Aberdeen.  In 1963 John settled in New Zealand, and quickly established himself as one the country’s leading cabaret,radio, and television performers.In 1970 he recorded his first album “The Dark Island” which was to be the first of many albums to be released . John has returned to New Zealand several times for appearances including a three month national tour.’ [photos]


My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. Growing up a few miles from San Francisco, I would frequent the active music scene on weekends besides being a fan of British BEAT music and never missing Shindig! on television. When first visiting the small community of Elgin in 2007, I was surprise to learn how the Beatles and many other vocalist and musicians came to perform during the early days of their careers. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in 1960's pop music

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: