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Sunday, 8 May 2016

John Fred born 8 May 1941

John Fred (born as John Fred Gourrier; May 8, 1941 – April 14, 2005) was a blue-eyed soul, Cajun swamp pop and bubble-gum pop performer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, best known for the song, "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)".
John Fred Gourrier was born in 1941 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His father, Fred Gourrier, had played professional baseball with the Detroit Tigers organization. In 1956 John formed a band that he called John Fred and the Playboys, a white group that played primarily rhythm and blues music. While still in high school, they cut their first record in late 1958 with Fats Domino's band. The song was titled Shirley and John Fred and the Playboys saw their song rise as high as number 82 on the national record charts. 
The group also cut other singles that were not as successful, working at times with Mac Rebennack and with the Jordanaires. John Fred attended Southeastern Louisiana University from 1960 to 1963 and spent some time as a college basketball player. He appeared on Alan Freed's show, but when Dick Clark asked him to sing on American Bandstand, Fred had to turn him down because he had to play in a basketball game.

He formed a new band and began to cut singles on the Jewel and N-Joy labels. The band was very popular regionally. Eventually they became known as John Fred & His Playboy Band and signed with the Paula label. After six singles that met with little success nationally, they recorded a parody of the popular Beatles' song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds which they called Judy In Disguise [With Glasses].

A song with a snappy beat and well orchestrated, it entered the charts on December 16, 1967 and by January 20, 1968 it had supplanted another Beatles' song, Hello Goodbye, as the number one record on the U.S. charts. It remained there for two weeks. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Although Fred actually had a well-rehearsed and talented group honed by years on the road, he was branded as a novelty act and never had another success. Only after years of struggles did Fred obtain full legal rights to "Judy in Disguise" and its royalties. They also covered "You're On My Mind" by The Animals.
John Fred & His Playboy Band continued doing pop songs and soul songs, recording material that had been done by Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Otis Redding and other well-known soul artists of the day. They toured through Europe, at one point playing with the supergroup Traffic in Hamburg. They recorded an album Permanently Stated that was psychedelic in nature, in keeping with the times. Before breaking up the group had one more single that was a hit regionally, Hey, Hey Bunny in 1968.
Fred spent much of the decade touring small clubs before reinventing himself as a producer during the late '70s, most notably helming several sessions for New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas. In 1982, he was named vice president of Baton Rouge-based RCS Records. Inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 1991 and given the Louisiana Music Living Legend Award in 1999, in later years Fred wrote jingles for brands including Greyhound Bus Lines, Ban Deodorant, and the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and even wrote and recorded the single "Baseball at the Box" in honour of the Louisiana State University baseball squad.
With Joe Stampley and Gee Gee Shinn he founded the Louisiana Boys, releasing a self-titled 1997 LP on the Bayou Music label. In 2000 he issued his first proper solo LP, I Miss Y'All, followed two years later by Somebody's Knockin'. In addition to touring clubs, festivals, and casinos, Fred coached high-school baseball and for Baton Rouge station WBRH hosted a weekly radio broadcast The Roots of Rock & Roll until his death.

In 2004, Fred's health began to fail and after receiving a kidney transplant, complications ensued which culminated in a long hospital stay in Tulane Hospital in New Orleans until his death on April 14, 2005, age 63. In April 2007, John Fred (Gourrier) was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. (Info edited from Wikipedia, www.tsimon and All Music)

Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame 2007 Inductee John Fred (Gourrier)of John Fred & The Playboys, at his induction tribute performance in April of 2007 in Mandeville, LA. Performance clips are from his final major performance in December of 2003 in New Orleans. This edit includes his World Wide #1 hit "Judy In Disguise", "Agnes English" and his 50's hit, "Shirley". 


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob, here's a link to Agnes English from my hard drive, Regards, Robert

boppinbob said...

Wow...Thanks Robert

boppinbob said...

For The best of John Fred & His Playboy Band go here

1. Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)
2. Dial 101 (Cause I Still Love You)
3. There Goes That Train
4. Make You Love Me
5. When I Meet My Girl
6. I Just Wanna Make Love to You
7. Can't I Get (A Word In)
8. My Babe
9. Doing the Best I Can
10. Leave Her Never
11. Love Comes in Time
12. Outta My Head
13. She Shot a Hole in My Soul
14. Up and Down
15. Wind-Up Doll
16. Agnes English
17. Sad Story
18. No Good to Cry
19. When the Lights Go Out
20. Hey, Hey Bunny
21. No Letter Today
22. Lonely Are the Lonely
23. We Played Games
24. Tissue Paper
25. Little Dum Dum
26. What Is Happiness?
27. Sometimes You Just Can't Win
28. Boogie Chillen/Walking with F

Thanks to Jake @ Loadsamusic Forum