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John Manchester 2009


I taught myself guitar at age 12 by listening to the first Peter, Paul and Mary album. A year later I was peforming in a tribute band, the Upstate Beatles, wearing a Beatle Wig. I received a BA in Music from Wesleyan University in 1972 where I benefited from exposure to its unique world music program.

I attended “grad school” by performing in numerous dives and biker bars, furthering my education in the groove and American musical styles from Bluegrass to Funk. I finally graduated on to giant arenas, playing guitar for Livingston Taylor as the opening act for the Linda Ronstadt and Fleetwood Mac tours in 1978, both at the height of their fame. I co-wrote a number of songs with Livingston which appeared on some of his records.

Since then I’ve supported my family composing background music for all kinds of stuff. In the last five years I taken to writing words; I have a memoir with an agent, and another thriller written.

Here – finally! I have an outlet for a lifetime’s music criticism, unschooled musicology and tales from within the dark belly of music biz.

For a sampling of music I have written and performed, please visit:

To license my music and that of other composers, please visit:

For my writings about stuff other than music (including most of what’s here):



John Manchester 1972

  1. Well, John, I must say, that pic from 1972 is a real barn burner! Oh, man. Pegged pants. Have mercy. And, if Small Change gets close, I extend an open invitation to you to dust off the acoustic and sit in. See you at the gym.

  2. Jenny House permalink

    Wow! John, you didn’t show us these pics before you married my sister! Hope Chris takes note . . .

  3. Luminous Muse is fast becoming a favorite read, John. You have a wonderful voice here.

  4. Mixmaster Dan permalink

    A slight correction…that first picture is from the 35th reunion of the band, not merely the 25th…

  5. Yes, Dan. The 25th reunion of my wedding, but 37th of the band If I can count correctly that high.

  6. I met Livingston Taylor last year. He was performing at a folk fest in which I was inspecting coolers for contraband at the gate. Livingston got in line with everyone else and we opened his backpack and looked in it. He passed the test so we let him in. I don’t know why he didn’t use the performers entrance.

    • You didn’t find anything because Liv has been clean and sober since sometime in the 80’s. Not so before, when I was working with him. Judging from recent interactions with him sobriety hasn’t done much to tamp down his wackadoodle self – a good and bad thing.

  7. Hi John! I loved your bit on Inrid Michaelson and would love to send you something to check out…what’s your email addY?

  8. Carol (née Bjorndahl) Berg permalink

    Hi! John(nie)
    Throwback: I met you during weekend put together I believe, by the Friends.
    We played games to gain trust, etc. like making animal noises until we sounded like a jungle and we went to see people with mental health issues, many from drugs, and a basketball game! You played your music…loved it. Was a great time.
    I have never forgotten you….so talented and cute (lol).

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