Johnny Rivers – Romance
Johnny Rivers (born John Henry Ramistella, November 7, 1942, New York City) is an American rock ‘n’ roll singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. His repertoire includes pop, folk, blues, and old-time rock ‘n’ roll.
Rivers charted during the 1960s and 1970s but remains best known for a string of hit singles between 1964 and 1968, among them “Memphis” (a Chuck Berry cover), “Mountain of Love”, “The Seventh Son”, “Secret Agent Man”, “Poor Side of Town” (a US #1), “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” (a Motown cover), and “Summer Rain”.
The Ramistella family moved from New York to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Johnny, influenced by the distinctive Louisiana musical style, began playing guitar at the age of eight, taught by his father and uncle.
While still in junior high school he started sitting in with a band called the Rockets, led by Dick Holler, who later wrote a number of songs including “Abraham, Martin and John” and the novelty song, “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron”.
Ramistella formed his own band, the Spades, and made his first record at 14, while still a student at Baton Rouge High School.Some of their music was recorded on the Suede label as early as 1956.
On a trip to New York City in 1958, Ramistella met Alan Freed, who advised him to change his name to “Johnny Rivers” after the Mississippi River that flows through Baton Rouge.Freed also helped Rivers gain some recording contracts on the Gone label.From March 1958 to March 1959, Rivers released three records which did not sell well.
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