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Thread: Musician Johnny Otis dies aged 90 (BBC Website)

  1. #1
    Fifth Beatle gryphon's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    South Netherlands

    Default Musician Johnny Otis dies aged 90 (BBC Website)

    Musician Johnny Otis dies aged 90

    Johnny Otis always said he identified far more with black culture than his own Greek origins
    Johnny Otis, dubbed the "godfather of rhythm and blues", has died aged 90.
    The bandleader, who had been unwell for several years, passed away at his home in Los Angeles, his manager said.
    Best known for the track Willie and the Hand Jive, he also wrote Every Beat of My Heart, a hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1961.
    "He is one of the greatest talents of American music and he was a great American," said music historian Tom Reed, adding "He could do it all."
    Otis, who was born to Greek-American parents, grew up in a predominately black community in Berkeley in California, listening to blues, gospel and swing.
    "As a kid, I decided that if our society dictated that one had to be black or white, I would be black," said Otis, who changed his birth name from John Veliotes.
    Civil rights In 1945 he formed his own band and went on to have his first big hit with Harlem Nocturne. Meanwhile, his reputation as a drummer was also growing.
    But it was R&B which was to thrust him into the limelight.
    Double Crossing Blues, Mistrustin' Blues and Cupid's Boogie all took the number one spot in 1949, with Mambo Boogie and Sunset to Dawn among his later hits.
    Otis also unearthed talents such as Jackie Wilson and Etta James, for whom he composed The Wallflower in 1955.
    His 1958 hit Willie and the Hand Jive saw him take the role of lead singer, and sold more than 1.5 million copies. It was later covered by Eric Clapton.
    Otis worked as a radio DJ and became heavily involved in the civil rights movement, writing about both in his 1968 book Listen to the Lambs.
    He continued to tour well into his 70s, while also becoming an ordained minister and organic farmer. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
    Nice to be able to go back to trust and friendship!!!!!!!!!

    It's a mixed up sensation this being alive
    Oh! it wears a man down into the ground
    It's the strangest elation
    I can't describe it
    Oh it leaves a man weary
    It makes a man frown.
    .............................Chris Simpson ( "Mixed Up Sensations" 1975 Martin's Cafe )

  2. #2
    Record Label Executive
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    Feb 2014


    I thought I'd bring this back to the forefront with Ron Weinstock's appreciation/ review: << The set reviewed is maybe the first one to get (and I did) but Mr. Otis has a back catalog for days--some great comps to be had: BTW, guitarist Shuggie Otis is his son. How about a few from him?
    Some tunes: <<M yes, that word...sung by a Black woman. Direct your comments to Joseph Conrad.: << A & B sides << Whatever it took to keep'm dancing
    There was a terrific Blues/ R&B scene in California mainly being in the major seacoast areas, the crowd being Black shipyard workers, etc. drawn to the West Coast by WWII jobs. Mr. Otis strongly tapped the main vein.
    A man accustomed to hear only the echo of his own sentiments, soon bars all the common avenues of delight, and has no part in the general gratification of mankind--Dr. Johnson
    What he said. Amen, Bro--JazzboCR

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