Friday, November 26, 2010

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-John Fred and His Playboy Band

Artist:John Fred and His Playboy Band
Song:Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)
Album:Absolutely the Best of John Fred and His Playboy Band

This Beatles parody/tribute topped the charts in January 1968. It was the one big hit for John Fred and His Playboy Band. But the song labelled them as a novelty act instead of the blue eyed soul that was a more accurate category for their music. John Fred Gourrier was born May 8, 1941 in Baton Rouge, LA. His father was pro baseball player Fred Gourrier. As a teen, Fred juggled music and athletics. In 1958, he recorded Shirley for Sam Montalbano's Montel label. The song was going up the charts but Fred turned down an American Bandstand appearance to play with his high school basketball team at the state championships. He attended Southeastern Louisiana University on a basketball scholarship and also recorded a few singles that went nowhere. Fred reformed The Playboys in 1963 and eventually signed with Louisiana based Jewel/Paula Records. The story goes that Fred heard The Beatles' Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and thought he heard "Lucy In Disguise".  So he decided to parody the lyric and wrote the song with Playboys sax player Andrew Bernard. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 in Jan. 1968. Think about it. A #1 hit was based on misheard lyrics. Subsequent singles did OK regionally but nothing broke nationally. A move to the much larger UNI label didn't help and John Fred and His Playboy Band split up in 1970. This budget comp from Varese is recommended though you can also get Judy In Disguise on several various artists comps. John Fred continued to perform in Louisiana clubs in the 70s. But he reemerged in 1979 and produced the comeback album for soul legend Irma Thomas. In 1982 he became VP of BCS Records and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 1991. He also wrote many jingles, occasionally recorded and hosted a Baton Rouge radio show. John Fred died on Apr. 15, 2005 at age 63 after a kidney transplant. Here's John Fred and His Playboy Band performing Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) 1968.

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