Born John Olenn McCord, he started his career in the early fifties, playing steel guitar in the band of Eddie Dugosh and the Ah-Ha Boys in San Antonio, Texas. In 1954 he got his own band together called The Jokers and in 1955 he cut his first two 45 rpm records for the San Antonio based TNT label.
In 1956 when he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and was playing at the Hacienda hotel, he got a proposal to perform in the 1956 rock 'n' roll movie "The Girl Can't Help It" and he also got a recording contract with Liberty records that same year. On this label he cut one 45 rpm record and one album called "Just Rollin' With Johnny Olenn".
Then in 1957 he left Liberty records to sign up with Buck Ram's Antler, Dee-Gee and Personality labels, for which he cut several 45 rpm records. He also performed that year in the Warner Brothers movie "Born Reckless". After that it became quiet around Johnny Olenn on the record scene, while however, he kept performing in Las Vegas, hotel lounges and in Bakersfield, California.
In 1983 Mac Records traced and contacted him and persuaded him to make his first European performance ever and this happened on October 13th 1984 in Aulnoye/Aymeries in France. His success was tremendous and that same month he cut his first 45 rpm record for Mac Records on Mac - 124 and this would become the beginning of a new recording career.
He returned to Europe in March 1986, to do three concerts again; One on March 21st in Bristol, England. On March 22nd, in Aulnoye/Aymeries in France he appered in the same show with Johnny Carroll and Judy Lindsey. On March 29th in Eindhoven, Holland where he appeared in a show with Sonny Burgess. This visit to Europe resulted again in a new 45 rpm record release for Mac Records on Mac - 128.
Johnny Olenn again returned to Europe in 1987 to perform on June 6th in Lummen - Belgium where he also appeared on the same show with Mickey Hawks and on June 13th in Amsterdam, Holland. During this latest tour, plans were made to cut an album for Mac Records, but this time the recording session would take place in Las Vegas, Nevada with Johnny's own band.He gradually cut back on performing and became involved in a financial investment company. Today, he is retired but does make the personal appearances when called upon.. He has recently has both hips replaced and this has limited his mobility on stage. Indeed at Hemsby, he sat on a stool and sang but the beat was obviously getting to him as he still moved around as much as possible. The voice is still totally intact. (Info edited from rockabillyhall.com)
From The 1958 Movie "Born Reckless"