Johnny Rivers – Memphis Tennessee –

Johnny Rivers was born John Henry Ramistella, November 7, 1942, in New York City. He is an American rock ‘n’ roll singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Johnny’s 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”.

In 1964, Elmer Valentine gave Johnny a one-year contract to open at the Whisky a Go Go, on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. At the time the m0st popular disco tech in the world. The Whisky had been in business just three days when the Beatles song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” entered the Hot 100. The subsequent British Invasion knocked almost every American artist off the top of the charts but Rivers was so popular that record producer Lou Adler decided to issue Johnny Rivers Live at the Whisky A Go Go. This live album reached #12.

Rivers recalled that his most requested live song then was “Memphis”, which reached #2 on the US Hit Parade in July 1964. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. According to Elvis Presley’s friend and employee, Alan Fortas, Presley played a test pressing of “Memphis” for Rivers that Presley had made but not released. Rivers was impressed and, much to Presley’s chagrin, Rivers recorded and released it, even copying the arrangement (Fortas writes: “After that, Johnny was on Elvis’s shit list” and was persona non grata from then on). Rivers’ version far outsold the Chuck Berry original from August 1959, which stalled at #87 in the US.

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Johnny Rivers – Memphis Tennessee
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