b. Joseph McLaughlin, 23 March 1917, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, d. 14 October 1999, Clane, Co. Kildare, Eire. An extremely popular ballad singer in the UK from the 40s through to the 60s, with an impressive tenor voice and substantial stage presence, Locke sang in local churches as a child, and, when he was 16, added two years to his age in order to enlist in the Irish Guards. Later, he served abroad with the Palestine Police before returning to Ireland in the late 30s to join the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Nicknamed the ‘Singing Bobby’, he became a local celebrity in the early 40s. On the advice of impresario Jack Hylton, who renamed him Josef Locke, he toured the UK variety circuit. In the following year, he played the first of 19 seasons at the popular northern seaside resort of Blackpool. He made his first radio broadcast in 1949 on the famous Happydrome, which starred the trio of ‘Ramsbottom, Enoch and Me’, and subsequently appeared on television programmes such as Rooftop Rendezvous, Top Of The Town, All-Star Bill and the Frankie Howerd Show. In 1947, Locke released ‘Hear My Song, Violetta’, which became forever associated with him. His other records were mostly a mixture of Irish ballads such as ‘I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen’, ‘Dear Old Donegal’ and ‘Galway Bay’; excerpts from operettas, including ‘The Drinking Song’, ‘My Heart And I’ and ‘Goodbye’; along with familiar Italian favourites such as ‘Come Back To Sorrento’ and ‘Cara Mia’.
From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.