A beloved comedian in New Zealand long after he chose exile in Melbourne, Clarke was also the country's biggest-selling recording star. He died unexpectedly, of natural causes, on 9 April 2017, while tramping in the Grampian national park in Victoria, Australia. A family member said he died “doing one of the things he loved the most in the world, taking photos of birds in beautiful bushland with his wife and friends.” He was 68.
'The Gumboot Song' was adapted from the song 'If It Wasnae for Your Wellies' by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.
Simon Morris (Tamburlaine) on the writing of ‘We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are’: “I popped in to the EMI studio where John was finishing his first album (at pace). He had about an hour to go, and some lyrics. I tuned up his guitar, slapped some chords together and we recorded it. With 15 minutes to go I then overdubbed three backing vocals. Job done. Ten bucks? Thank you very much. Many years later, John got in touch and insisted on giving me some royalties, though I think ‘song composition’ was slightly over-stating it! He personally gave me credit (and a nice cheque), but I imagine the formal credit remains his. After all, the lyrics and his performance were 99 percent of the number.”