Category: Individual Artist

Jon Stafford was a lead singer, first finding his voice when The Beatles were revolving, and American bands were Monkeeing around.

Inspired by the British blues-rock band Cream, and later, Flint Michigan’s Grand Funk Railroad, he started his music career in 1970 with a band from NE Hamilton High School. Jon joined a second band while attending DMACC Ankeny.

Listening to music loud and late into the night above Rosie’s Tap, answering an ad for a lead singer he saw in a record store after graduation, he began singing full time. Crash Factory, Mourning, Armageddon, Blitz, and Ramblin’ all breezed through a whirlwind of high school and college shows, night clubs, concerts, hotels, and dance marathons.

In 1980, Jon moved to Minneapolis, sang in a church choir and did some gigging with bands Jukin’ and Joker. He played more and more guitar to help him keep singing and was thrilled to add backup vocals on an album recorded at Blackberry Way Studios. Around 1990 he formed Johnny Radial and the Retreads with some high school buddies and played all over Hamilton County. Chuck Offenburger noted the unique name in his Des Moines Register column “Iowa Boy.” Jon commuted from Minnesota to Iowa before landing a job with Rieman Music in Des Moines.

Into the new millennium, Jon continued with the Retreads, played drums for a church band, enjoyed more recording time, and began the Jon Radial Trio to pick up local gigs. Desiring to collaborate all these experiences into the present and add a twist, he established According to Hoyle with an all-state accordion player from church and a solid rhythm section with two music-store mates.

Much of Jon’s repertoire stayed with him, like the many musicians and friends he made. His wife Nancy was a terrific influence and best friend, and the support of his family was heartfelt. Jon would have considered The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame a high note, kind, and much appreciated. Jon is being honored posthumously after his passing in March 2019. He is deeply missed by everyone who knew him and many who never will.

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