Hello,  Johnny Rivers was born John Henry Ramistella on November 7, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He is a rock and roll singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer, which means he does about all of it…and may I add…very well.  He formed his own band, The Spades, in junior high school and cut his first record at just 14 years old, in 1957.  He was named Johnny Rivers by legendary DJ, Alan Freed in 1958.  Johnny recorded for 12 different record labels between 1958 and 1964, before hitting it big on Imperial Records.

On May 30, 1964 Johnny charted his first big hit record,  MEMPHIS,  the Chuck Berry hit from 1959.  Johnny Rivers version far outsold the original, and charting all the way at #2.  He was on his way to a career that would include 29 Billboard Hot 100 hits.  He would chart another Chuck Berry hit in 1964,  MAYBELINE  would just miss the Top 10, charting at #12.  Next would come his version of Harold Dorman’s big hit,  MOUNTAIN OF LOVE,  it would climb to #9.   Imperial Records released an album by Johnny in early 1964.  That album contained the single  MEMPHIS…the album was  “Johnny Rivers Live At The Whisky A Go Go”.  The live album reached #12 on the album charts and sold over a million copies.

In 1965 he was back on the Hot 100 with  MIDNIGHT SPECIAL,  the record charted at #20.  In June his recording of  SEVENTH SON  made its Hot 100 debut and didn’t stop until it peaked at #7.  Johnny Rivers had 5 records in the Hot 100 in 1965.  He also had two more hit albums, “Meanwhile Back At The Whisky A Go Go” another live album and “Johnny Rivers Rocks The Folk”.

Well if 1964 and 1965 were very successful years for him, just what could 1966 bring…the British Invasion was in full force, (had been since 1964).  Johnny’s first hit record in 1966 made its Hot 100 debut in March…a little number that was the theme song from the TV series, “Secret Agent Man”, starring Patrick McGoohan.  SECRET AGENT MAN  became one of his biggest records, climbing the Billboard Hot 100 to #3 and was a huge song in pop radio rotation.  The hit records continued, in June…(I Washed My Hands In) MUDDY WATER  began its climb to #19.  On September 17, 1966 the biggest single record of Johnny Rivers career made its Hot 100 debut.  POOR SIDE OF TOWN  became his first and his only #1 hit record on the Billboard Hot 100.

1967 brought more hit singles, his cover of the Four Tops classic,  BABY I NEED YOUR LOVIN’  charted at #3 and was followed by another cover, this time The Miracles classic,  THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS…charting at #10 for Johnny.  His next hit was his third of 1967,  his wonderful recording of  SUMMER RAIN  charted at #14.  He continued to put singles on the Hot 100 for Imperial Records throough 1970.  In 1971 he was on United Artists Records.  His cover of Huey “Piano” Smith And The Clowns classic  ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA AND THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU  became a #6 hit in 1972, selling over a million copies.  There would be one more huge record that Johnny would put on the Hot 100 and that came in June of 1977 on Big Tree records,  SWAYIN’ TO THE MUSIC (Slow Dancin’).  The single would chart at #10 and become his longest charted hit at 24 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.  The single also sold over 1 million copies and was awarded a “Gold Record”.

Johnny Rivers is still touring.  He has 9 Top 10 hits to his credit and 17 Top 40 hits from 1964-1977.  He has sold well over 30 million records in his long and very successful career.  Sure, he covered many other artists hits, but with each one he put in his own special energy and made them his hits also…He is a proud member of the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.


Till the next time—Joe


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