EXPIRED: 10/23/11 – John Makin, 61, left his home in Liverpool, England to find work in Brussels back in the 1970s. He was a property surveyor and a amatuer songwriter. In 1976, he switched to music full time with the release of his first album “Urban Romance” under the stage name Mister John.
It was a modest success. But nothing like his 1998 hit. Back then the country was burdened with a child abduction and pedophile case and was extremely distressed. Mister John released a new album with a throwaway song called “”Potverdekke!” It was a cheerful song about the Belgian identity and all the great things that Belgium has to offer. It’s chorus, “It’s great to be a Belgian,” lifted spirits just a little.
The Belgian Press,TV and Radio, in characteristic amazement that anybody, especially an obscure Liverpool-born songwriter, could be saying positive things about their much-maligned country, gave the song all the encouragement it deserved to help it to Number 6 in the National Hit Parade. It stayed on the Belgian pop charts for 26 weeks and John Makin became a nationwide celebrity, performing the song at the celebrations for the Belgian National Holiday.
“As I walk along the street with my mayonnaise and frites
You can tell I’m as happy as can be
It’s a shame about the weather but we all live together
In peace and bilingual harmony”
Not bad for an ex-pat from Liverpool.