John Gaughan

Profession: Herman’s Hermits – Singer

I was one of the few people who started at the top and worked my way down. It’s not good when you are at rock bottom, but that’s where I met with Jesus. He literally picked me up out of the gutter. I started drinking at the age of 13 and I couldn’t put the bottle down. When I was 15 I was singing in the pubs and clubs and when I was 18 I was one of those people who were ‘discovered’. I was taken down to London from Leeds and ended up singing with Peter Noone and Herman Hermit’s in places such as Madison Square Gardens and the Hollywood Bowl. One day I was doing the working men’s clubs and the next I was going to parties with the big stars and it looked like I had absolutely everything. But I’d got nothing compared to what I’ve got now.

At 20 years old I was drinking about two and a half bottles of vodka a day. If I didn’t have a drink for 4 or 5 hours I would shake violently. This sounds crazy, but I couldn’t drive a car unless I’d had a drink! I couldn’t take it any more at the top and tried to settle down. I left show business and moved to Spain in the mid 80’s. I started in cabaret and worked my way down, eventually just earning enough to cover my drinks bill. I didn’t like what I had become. I’d tried everything to stop drinking. I’d tried drying out clinics and hospitals, I tried everything a man could possibly do, but could not stop drinking. I knew that there was a God, but not that he knew me personally.

In late 1985 I came back to Britain. When I got home my house had been burgled. Literally everything had gone including the carpets. I couldn’t take it any more. I ended up on the streets. Just before Christmas 1985 I went back to that house I owned and threw myself 40 feet from the attic window. I landed on my feet on the flagstones, and instead of killing myself, I smashed my feet completely and crushed the lumbar joints in my back. Looking back I could see that God’s hand was on my life. I wound up in hospital for 3 months. They eventually took the wheelchair from me because I was going to the off license in it in my pyjamas! That’s how desperate I was to drink. My mother died while I was in hospital and I moved into her flat but I carried on drinking. I now had a real drink problem because I couldn’t get out on my crutches to buy it, and had to send for a taxi! I then decided that I would go out and search for God. I knew He was my only answer and he heard my cry.

One day a man knocked on my door because the Lord had told him he had to speak to the person inside about Jesus. It was a miracle! Eventually I went to his church with him where everybody had smiles on their faces. I went down to the front and gave my life to Jesus, but I didn’t really mean it. I wanted a quick fix. But Jesus didn’t leave me. I carried on drinking but kept going back to that church because they are full of love. I went back for 5 years. But in 1991, I wanted a closer relationship with this God I’d been hearing about. I started reading books about people who had been changed by God (in between slurps of alcohol) and thought that if Jesus can do it for them he can do it for me. I went back to the church, sober, went to the front and gave my life to Jesus and this time I meant it. A lady prayed with me and broke the curse of alcoholism over my life and I’ve never wanted a drink since! I just asked Jesus into my life and he did the rest. And, without even asking, Jesus also healed my feet. I could walk properly again. Also, within 3 months my back was healed as well. I started writing and performing Christian songs and now travel full-time telling my story in words and song of how Jesus changed my life.