John Roadhouse was born in Sheffield on January 13 1921 and moved to Moss Side, Manchester as a child. He was given an old saxophone by his father, an amateur musician, and was self-taught.
In 1946 Roadhouse joined Teddy Foster's orchestra, a big advance both musically and sartorially.
"The first thing Teddy said when he saw me was 'You're not coming in my band with those clothes!'" Two years later Roadhouse became leader of the saxophone section for the BBC Northern Variety Orchestra. He had a great say together with Alyn Ainsworth in the musicians chosen for the band.
In 1953 this was transformed into the Northern Dance Orchestra, and he remained a member until its demise in the 1980s.
"I may be a bit short of technique but I've got by on sound and interpretation," Roadhouse once said.
He was always the first to be called when the Hallé Orchestra planned to perform a work, such as Bizet's L'Arlésienne, which includes an alto saxophone. He also went on to play engagements with the Liverpool Philharmonic.
In 1955 Johnny Roadhouse Music (motto: "Hit it, Strum it, Blow it, Play it!") opened its doors in Oxford Road, Manchester, where it has remained ever since, through changing musical fashions and urban redevelopment. Instrument shops have traditionally afforded a rendezvous for local musicians and the entertainment business, and this was no exception.
Les Dawson used to meet his agent there.
Paul McCartney and members of Oasis, The Smiths and The Stone Roses, have all been customers.
"Every single band in Manchester has gone through Johnny Roadhouse Music at some stage," remarked Mike Joyce, former drummer with The Smiths. "It's impossible not to."
Oasis featured pictures of the shop in the video of their single The Masterplan. Johnny used to say “There is nothing worse than a quiet music shop”
Eventually the business sprouted offshoots, such as a team of specialist instrumental teachers and a band agency.
In retirement, Johnny Roadhouse passed the running of the business over to his son, also named John.
He continued to play until shortly before his death, latterly with the Ashton-on-Mersey Show Band, which performed to raise money for charity.
In 2005 he was presented with Lifetime Achievement awards by the Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Variety Club of Great Britain.
Johnny was a wonderful saxophonist, who spent his life enjoying making music, and always enhanced any recordings with the NVO, NDO and NRO
and Gentleman and Players by his sheer musicality. He is featured on Diamonds, Pure Gold 1, 2 and 3 and the Ruby CD’s