Jools Holland, OBE was born Julian Miles Holland on January 24, 1958 in Blackheath, South East London.
At the age of eight, he could play the piano fluently by ear, and by the time he reached his early teens he was proficient and confident enough to be appearing regularly in many of the pubs in South East London and the East End Docks.
At the age of 15, Jools was introduced to Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford; together they formed Squeeze, and shortly afterwards they were joined by Gilson Lavis (who had already played with, among others, BB King, Chuck Berry, and Max Wall) – who still drums with Jools.
Up The Junction and Cool For Cats made Squeeze's success meteoric and their popularity rapidly extended to America, where their stadium tour included performances at Madison Square Garden.
In 1987, Jools formed The Jools Holland Big Band – comprising himself and Gilson Lavis. This has gradually metamorphosed into the current 18-piece Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, which consists of one pianist, one drummer, two female vocals, one guitar, one bass guitar, two tenor saxophones, two alto saxophones, one baritone saxophone, three trumpets, and four trombones.
Jools and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra now plays an average of 100 live shows each year, touring the UK and Europe to audiences in excess of 500,000.
As well as the formidable live performances, Jools has maintained a prolific recording career since signing to Warners in 1996 and has sold millions of albums.
Jools' career as a television presenter has run parallel to his musical career. He started in the early 1980s when he interviewed The Police for a documentary that was made while they were recording at George Martin's Montserrat studio. Jools then auditioned to become co-presenter (with Paula Yates) of The Tube, which was granted almost immediate cult status and discovered a whole new generation of musicians and comedians between 1981 and 1986. Jools also managed to secure a rare interview with Miles Davis, which was broadcast on 14th November 1986.
In two subsequent documentaries – Walking to New Orleans in 1985 and Mr Roadrunner in 1991 – Jools unearthed some of the roots of American music, which led him to talk to (and play with) many of his heroes, including Fats Domino, Dr. John, and Lee Dorsey.
In 1988, Jools wrote a six-part series with Roland Rivron, The Groovy Fellas, about a Martian visiting Earth.
Between 1988 and 1990, Jools performed and co-hosted (with David Sanborn) during the two seasons of an acclaimed music performance programme, Sunday Night, on NBC.
After presenting two series of Juke Box Jury in 1989 and then 26 shows of The Happening in 1990, Jools was asked in 1992 to host a new music programme for BBC2, which combined his talent and experience as a musician with his skills as an interviewer.
Later…with Jools Holland has re-awakened the innovative spirit of The Tube, and the 200th edition (31st series) will air in 2008, along with Jools' New Years Eve show, the exuberant Hootenanny, which celebrates its 16th anniversary.
Other television programmes include: Name That Tune; Don't Forget Your Toothbrush; Beat Route; Jools Meets The Saint; and, in 2002, Jools' History Of The Piano. Jools also conducted the interviews for the definitive Beatles Anthology, and the Rolling Stones Biography.
He appeared in the 1997 film Spice World as a 'Musical Director'.
Jools' achievements were formally recognized in June 2003, when he was awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.