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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Johnny Rivers born 7 November 1942


Johnny Rivers (born John Henry Ramistella; November 7, 1942) is an American rock 'n' roll singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. His repertoire includes pop, folk, blues, and old-time rock 'n' roll. Rivers charted during the 1960s and 1970s but remains best known for a string of hit singles between 1964 and 1968. 

He has lent his smooth, reedy and soulful voice to a diverse array of songs in such music genres as blues, folk, rhythm and blues and inspired covers of rock-and-roll oldies. Moreover, Rivers has recorded a slew of singles and albums that have sold over 30 million copies, and he has had nine Top 10 hits as well as 17 other songs in the Top 40 charts throughout his career.

Rivers was born as John Henry Ramistella in New York City, of Italian ancestry. His family moved from New York to Baton 
Rouge, Louisiana. Influenced by the distinctive Louisiana musical style, Rivers began playing guitar at age eight, taught by his father and uncle. While still in junior high school, he started sitting in with a band called the Rockets, led by Dick Holler, who later wrote a number of hit songs. He Ramistella formed his own band, the Spades, and made his first record at 14, while he was a student at Baton Rouge High School. Some of their music was recorded on the Suede label as early as 1956.


                            

Following brief abortive stints in both New York -- where legendary rock'n'roll disc jockey Alan Freed suggested that Johnny change his last name to Rivers -- and Nashville, Johnny settled in Los Angeles. He returned to Baton Rouge in 1959, and began playing throughout the American South alongside comedian 
Brother Dave Gardner. One evening in Birmingham, Rivers met Audrey Williams, Hank Williams' first wife. She encouraged Rivers to move to Nashville, where he found work as a songwriter and demo singer. Rivers also worked alongside Roger Miller. By this time, Rivers had decided he would never make it as a singer, and song writing became his priority.

In 1958, Rivers met fellow Louisianan, James Burton, a guitarist in a band led by Ricky Nelson. Burton later recommended one of Rivers' songs, "I'll Make Believe", to Nelson who recorded it. They met in Los Angeles in 1961, where Rivers subsequently found work as a songwriter and studio musician. His 
big break came in 1963, when he filled in for a jazz combo at Gazzarri's, a nightclub in Hollywood, where his instant popularity drew large crowds.

He soon became a popular headliner at the famous nightclub The Whisky-a-Go-Go. His 1964 album "Johnny Rivers Live at the Whisky-a-Go-Go" peaked at #12 on the album charts and beget a #2 hit single with Rivers' cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis."

Johnny followed with a steady succession of hit covers of "Maybelline," "Midnight Special," and "Seventh Son." Rivers scored his only #1 hit with the elegiac "Poor Side of Town" (he also co-wrote this particular song), which was followed by the exciting "Secret Agent Man." Johnny's covers of "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" and "The Tracks of My Tears" were likewise very successful. In addition, he started his own record company, Soul City Records; this label was instrumental in launching the career of the vocal group The 5th Dimension. He also gave then burgeoning songwriter Jimmy Webb a big break by recording the Webb composition "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" on his album "Changes."

Johnny continued to churn out hit singles in the '70s; his covers of "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Help Me Rhonda" all did well. Rivers' last top 10 hit was the soothing and sensuous "Swayin' to the Music (Slow Dancin')."

Rivers continued releasing material into the 1980s (e.g., 1980s Borrowed Time LP), although his recording career was winding down. He is still touring, however, performing 50 to 60 shows a year. Increasingly he has returned to the blues that inspired him initially. 
In 1998 Rivers reactivated his Soul City Records label and released Last Train to Memphis. In early 2000, Rivers recorded with Eric 
Clapton, Tom Petty and Paul McCartney on a tribute album dedicated to Buddy Holly's backup band, the Crickets

Johnny Rivers career total is 9 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and 17 in the Top 40 from 1964 to 1977; he has sold well over 30 million records. On June 12, 2009, Johnny Rivers was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. 


His name has been suggested many times for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he has never been selected. Rivers, however, was a nominee for 2015 induction into America's Pop Music Hall of Fame. 


He continues to both tour and record the occasional new album to this day.  (Compiled and edited from Wikipedia & IMDb)

Here's Johnny performing "Memphis" on American Bandstand
                                   July 11, 1964.

2 comments:

boppinbob said...

For “Johnny Rivers - This Could Be The One - The Early Sides 1958-1962” go here:

https://www39.zippyshare.com/v/7EbPaatI/file.html

1. LITTLE GIRL - JOHNNY RAMISTELLA
2. TWO BY TWO - JOHNNY RAMISTELLA
3. LONG LONG WALK
4. BABY COME BACK
5. THAT'S ROCK AND ROLL
6. ONE MAN WOMAN
7. HOLE IN THE GROUND
8. YOU'RE THE ONE
9. YOUR FIRST AND LAST LOVE
10. WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER
11. EVERYDAY
12. DARLING TALK TO ME
13. THE CUSTOMARY THING
14. ANSWER ME MY LOVE
15. IT'S SO DOGGONE LONESOME
16. KNOCK THREE TIMES
17. BLUE SKIES
18. THAT SOMEONE SHOULD BE ME
19. TOO GOOD TO LAST -JOHNNY RAMISTELLA
20. TO BE LOVED -JOHNNY RAMISTELLA
21. LONG BLACK VEIL
22. THIS COULD BE THE ONE
23. THAT'S MY BABE
24. LOSER'S CAN'T WIN
25. DREAM DOLL

Although it wasn't until 1964 when Johnny Rivers finally became a star with his hit 'Memphis' he had a career going back to 1958.Here Jasmine records have the earliest recordings of the 60s superstar getting their most comprehensive reissue yet! He recorded rockabilly and beat ballads and examples of all of his early attempts at a hit are featured on this full length CD.Anyone entranced with the roots of 60s pop can't help but be hooked on this collection. (Jasmine notes)

Crab Devil said...

Thank you!