Sunday, December 8, 2013
Spotlight on Johnny Rivers
One of the most versatile and talented performers in rock 'n' roll is Johnny Rivers. He's been singing, playing guitar, recording and touring since the 1950s.
While some American solo artists and groups didn't survive the first British Invasion in late 1963, Rivers met the challenge and flourished with his distinctive sound and delivery.
Although he was born in New York (his real name is John Henry Ramistella), his family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when he was a child. And you can hear the Cajun influence in his music.
Like most folks, I first learned about Rivers with his album, "Live at the Whisky a Go-Go," which produced the mega hit "Memphis." He followed that with hits such as "Maybelline," "Mountain of Love," and "Midnight Special."
And then he shifted gears and turned out ballads, Motown covers, folk songs and then some more rockers with songs such as "Poor Side of Town," "Summer Rain," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "The Tracks of My Tears," "Secret Agent Man," "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," and "Swayin' to the Music."
Rivers charted 11 Top 20 songs including the No. 1 "Poor Side of Town" from 1964 to 1977. Quite impressive.
Since his first major recording came in 1963 (he had several singles in 1957), Rivers would have been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. According to my research, he has NEVER been nominated for the honor. I find that unbelievable! He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Here's the Future Rock Legends website list of others who have been overlooked, or snubbed, through the years.
More about Rivers came be found at All Music.
And now a few videos of the great Johnny Rivers:
Maybelline and Memphis
Secret Agent Man
Poor Side of Town
Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu
Until the next time...