Hello, Johnny And The Hurricanes had a run of hits between 1959 and 1961 that had teenagers tapping their feet and clapping their hands. They had nine hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and were one of the most popular instrumental groups in the United States. Johnny “Paris” Pocisk was the leader, other members included, Paul Tesluk, Dave Yorko, Lionel “Butch” Mattice and Tony Kaye. He was replaced in late 1959 by Bo Savich.
Their first hit on the Billboard charts came in April of 1959. CROSSFIRE, first released on Twirl Records and then on the larger Warwick Records reached #23 on the Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 14 weeks. Making it a big hit and the groups new-found stardom was on the verge of really taking off. On August 3, 1959 Johnny And The Hurricanes charted their second hit single, this one would become the biggest all-time hit. The old standard RED RIVER VALLEY was recorded as a rock and roll song, and boy did it rock…RED RIVER ROCK climbed the Hot 100 all the way to #5 and remained on the Billboard chart for 17 weeks. The record didn’t stop there, as it crossed the Atlantic and became a #3 hit on the UK Singles Chart. RED RIVER ROCK sold over 1 million copies and Johnny And The Hurricanes were awarded a “Gold Record”.
The group would continue to chart hit records, songs like REVEILLE ROCK, BEATNICK FLY, JA-DA are just a few of their hits. They would have another Top 10 hit in the UK. ROCKING GOOSE would become a #3 hit on the UK Singles Chart. The hits stopped after 1961 but the group did not slow down. The group had a large following in Europe. In 1962, they played the Star-Club in Hamburg, where a little known act opened for them. You might have heard of them, they had a few hits of their own…oh! their name…The Beatles. Johnny Paris and his band toured Europe on and off until 2006. Johnny “Paris” Savich died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 65.
I am happy to say that I saw Johnny And The Hurricanes in 1959. They played a rock show at the Rochester, New York War Memorial, with Del Shannon and Marcie Blane. They were that good…great musicians and a fabulous sound. The music they made is their legacy as a rock and roll band and it has stood as a lasting reminder of a place in our musical history, we call, the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”