Thursday, December 31, 2009
Jango Song Of The Day-Johnny Rivers
Song:Poor Side Of Town
Album:Summer Rain: The Essential Rivers 1964-1975
Johnny Rivers had a long string of hits in the 60s and 70s. So it might surprise you that Poor Side Of Town was his only number one hit in 1966. He was born John Henry Ramistella Nov. 7, 1942 and grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. His father taught him the guitar and John was a huge R & B fan as a youngster. He had his own band as a teen and even recorded a couple of singles. A 1957 meeting with legendary DJ Alan Freed resulted in a name change to Johnny Rivers. He recorded some unsuccessful singles but mostly cut demos in the Elvis Presley style. He moved to Los Angeles in 1963, put together a band and started getting some local buzz. Lou Adler became his manager and Rivers signed with Liberty Records. He had his first big hit with a cover of Chuck Berry's Memphis and this was followed by a long string of hits. The theme to the TV series Secret Agent Man was probably his breakthrough hit as it reached #3 but Poor Side Of Town was his only number one hit. Rivers continued to have success into the 70s and even started his own label called Soul City which included The Fifth Dimension. After Liberty was absorbed by United Artists and then purchased by Capitol, Rivers left in 1973 and recorded for Atlantic and Epic. His last chart hit was in 1977. This single CD comp from the British label Raven Records has all his hits. Johnny Rivers didn't record for most of the 80s and 90s but he continued to tour. He revived the Soul City label in 1998 and has released a few CDs. Apparently he's working on a new one now. Here's Johnny Rivers performing Poor Side Of Town on Hullaballoo 1966.