John Howard was a good Catholic boy brought up in postwar Lancashire, who became more turned on by gilt than by guilt. Sacred Heart statues and a wall-mounted crucifix, along with plans for the priesthood, were replaced by Marc Bolan posters, miming to "Metal Guru" in front of a full-length mirror and dreams of pop stardom.
As glam rock stomped into millions of teenage bedrooms, John left home for London and was quickly signed to CBS Records, making his debut album at Abbey Road studios and enjoying the hedonistic pleasures of a fully gay-liberated city.
He appeared on TV and rubbed shoulders with stars like Johnny Mathis and David Essex, wrote and recorded the theme song for the William Holden/Peter Fonda movie Open Season, and launched his album with a concert at The Purcell Room on the South Bank.
Meanwhile, he was attacked with a knife by his first lover; he was beaten up by an East End crook boyfriend; he narrowly escaped being gang raped in Malta; and he was rescued from being abducted by a serial killer cab driver in New York.
Everything finally came to a crashing halt when, at the age of 23, he broke his back jumping from his apartment window, escaping from his flatmates' sex attacker.
A potentially glittering career, and an often perilous sex life, were all put on hold as John lay in a hospital bed unsure if he would walk again.