Johnny Rivers

Born: Nov. 7, 1942 in New York City, NY

John Henry Ramistella is an American Rock and Roll singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. He is 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.” 

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 hit songs, including the novelty song, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron.” On a trip to New York City in 1958, John met Alan Freed, who advised him to change his name to "Johnny Rivers" after the Mississippi River, which flows through his hometown of Baton Rouge.

 

Freed also helped him gain several recording contracts on the Gone label. Rivers big break came in 1963, when he filled in for a jazz combo at Gazzarri's, a nightclub in Hollywood. Johnny Rivers had nine Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and seventeen recordings in the Top 40 from 1964 to 1977; he has sold over 30 million records.

Johnny Rivers performs "Secret Agent Man."
Tex Ritter Portrait