NEARLY 43 years after the ‘Who Done It’ episode of iconic US TV show Dallas aired, a songwriter from Ellesmere Port reflects on cult hit ‘J.R is Our Hero’.

Dave Keech and Billy Jones had written the single about Dallas villain J.R. Ewing during the height of the show’s fame in May 1980. Dave, who wrote the lyrics, managed to mention each and every member of the Ewing family during the song's chorus.

The popularity of the show translated to the single which garnered local and national publicity.

Dave said: "It was amazing in many ways because at the time I was working as an engineer and Billy was a joiner, although we'd always done a bit of music."

Dave and Billy played the song live for the popular BBC television programme Nationwide at New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road in Manchester in June 1980.

"It came over the tannoy at the factory I was working in 'Can Dave Keech please contact BBC Manchester.' Which was a bit of a shock, and then we went to play it [for Nationwide]," said Dave.

"In the studio I was playing rhythm guitar and Billy played lead, he was a much better singer than me."

An estimated 350 million people would tune in on November 21, 1980 to find out "Who Shot J.R.?" after the season-ending cliffhanger on March 21.

In the interim the song was recorded by Eric Starr, a professional country and western singer, on Liverpool’s Jungle record label as a 7” single with the B-side the John Denver-penned ‘Annie’s Song’.

Chester and District Standard: The Chester Chronicle, September 1980 - via the British Newspaper Archive.The Chester Chronicle, September 1980 - via the British Newspaper Archive. (Image: The Chester Chronicle via the British Newspaper Archive.)

The single was advertised in the Liverpool Echo, the Cheshire Observer and the Chester Chronicle.

The Chronicle said of Eric Starr's version: “With the current Dallas mania abounding J.R. was shot again last week, I hear what better time to release a single with the title ‘J.R Is Our Hero?’

“But that’s just what Eric Starr, a country and western singer, has done.

“The single is out on the Jungle Records label... and it was recorded no less a place than the Amazon Studio in Liverpool. Other interesting facts about the record are that it was written by Keech/Jones.”

Dave remains a member of the musician's union and has written several other songs, many of which have raised money for charity, including the song 'Wilfred' which commemorates the war poet Wilfred Owen and was written with Wallasey folk singer Gill Burns.

'Wilfred' was released in August 1986 and raised funds for Clatterbridge Hospital.