Johnny Otis Biography
Johnny Otis was an American singer, musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, talent scout, disc jockey, record producer, television programme host, artist, author, journalist, clergyman, and promoter (born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes). He had a significant impact on American R&B and rock and roll. He found a number of musicians early in their careers, including Little Esther Phillips, Etta James, Alan O’Day, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Ace, Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard, and The Robins, among many others. Otis Redding has been dubbed the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues.
Otis was born December 28, 1921 in Vallejo, California. He started playing drums as a teenager, after faking his father’s signature on a credit form. He dropped out of Berkeley High School in his junior year soon after. With his piano friend “Count” Otis Matthews, he formed the West Oakland House Rockers. By 1939, they were performing at a variety of local events, especially in and around Oakland and Berkeley, and were well-liked by their peers. Otis identified with the culture of his black childhood companions and grew to think of himself as black before falling in love with black musical traditions. Otis began playing boogie-woogie and blues with a local Berkeley band before progressing to regional ensembles and touring throughout the west. By this time, he had married Phyllis Walker, a high school sweetheart, and in 1943, Otis formed the Otis Love Band, named for himself and partner Preston Love.
By 1945, Otis had assembled his first large band (sixteen musicians) to serve as the club’s house band. Otis also worked as a studio drummer, recording with musicians such as Lester Young and Charles Brown. Otis made his first hit single in 1946, a cover of Earle Hagen’s “Harlem Nocturne.” Otis’ big band toured the country with the Inkspots the same year.
By the time Otis’ band returned home in 1947, the big band’s heyday was passed, and audiences were flocking to hear the blues. Otis wasted no time in reducing his band to a smaller lineup while keeping the trombone, trumpet, and two saxes.
Otis’ understanding of R&B music, as well as his connections and reputation, made him a natural advocate of the music he adored. Otis stopped touring in 1955, motivated by a desire to spend more time with his family. He worked as a disc jockey in Los Angeles, where he had a hugely popular radio show, which led to a television show, and eventually founded his own record label, Dig Records. He oversaw both the television and radio shows from an office building, where he “continued to create hit recordings himself and to function as a talent scout for other labels such as Don Robey’s Peacock Records from Houston,” as George Lipsitz remarked in an introduction to Otis’ 1993 book Upside Your Head.
Otis continued to assist his community in non-musical capacities during the next decade. He worked as the deputy chief of staff to a politician named Mervin Dymally for ten years. Dymally served in the California State legislature and, later, the United States Congress. Congress.
Otis was as active as ever in the late 1980s and early 1990s, selling an organic line of fruit juice, producing radio broadcasts, and painting and sculpting pieces that showed his passion of African American culture. Furthermore, Otis continued to travel with a 13-piece band, the appeal of which was undoubtedly nostalgic. A resurgence of interest in 1950s R&B encouraged Capitol Records to release Otis’ work.
Otis died of natural causes on January 17, 2012, in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Altadena.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Genre Is Johnny Otis?
Johnny Otis is an American rhythm and blues musician, singer, songwriter, arranger and bandleader. He was a pivotal figure in the development of R&B and rock and roll, helping to shape the sound and style of both genres in the 1950s and 1960s. His daughter, Shuggie Otis, is also a well-known musician.
What Is Johnny Otis’S Best Album?
Johnny Otis’s best album is undoubtedly “The Best of Johnny Otis.” This album contains all of his greatest hits, including “Willie and the Hand Jive,” “Rockin’ With My Baby,” and “Baby, I’m for Real.” If you’re a fan of Johnny Otis, this is the album for you.
What Was Johnny Otis’S Biggest Hit?
How Many Albums Do The Johnny Otis’S Have?
Johnny Otis has released 27 studio albums, 1 live album, and 7 compilations.