Friday, 19 May 2017
James Bond Theme/The Hungry Eye/Rough Road/Kaw Liga
Johnny and the Hurricanes were an American instrumental rock and roll band from Toledo, Ohio, that had a number of hits, especially in the UK, in the 1950s and early 1960s.
They began as the Orbits in Toledo in 1957. Led by saxophonist Johnny Paris (born 29 August 1940 as John Matthew Pocisk, Walbridge, Ohio, died 1 May 2006, Ann Arbor, Michigan), they were school friends who played on a few recordings behind Mack Vickery, a local rockabilly singer.
They signed with Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik of Twirl Records, which led to national engagements in 1959. Johnny and the Hurricanes recorded "Crossfire" in a vacant cinema to provide echo. It became a nationwide U.S. hit, and ranked No. 23 in the U.S. chart in the summer of 1959.
They specialised in versions of old tunes with a rock and roll beat. They chose these songs because they were well recognized and easier to accept with the beat. Tunes were credited to 'King, Mack' and usually one other name: King and Mack were in fact pseudonyms for Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik, the band's managers. In 1960, they recorded the United States Army bugle call, "Reveille", as "Reveille Rock", and turned "Blue Tail Fly" into "Beatnik Fly". Both tunes made the Top 40 achieving number 15 and 25 respectively. The band also recorded "Down Yonder" for Big Top Records. In the same year, they recorded "When The Saints Go Marching In" as "Revival", but it ranked in the charts for just one week, peaking at No. 97. The record was flipped over in the UK, where "Rocking Goose" reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart.
Johnny Paris and his band toured Europe occasionally until the end of 2005. He died on 1 May 2006 at the University Clinic of Ann Arbor, Michigan, of hospital-borne infections after an operation. Paris's second wife and widow, the German journalist, novelist and vocalist Sonja Verena (Reuter) Paris, took over his business (Atila Records, Sirius 1 Music and Johnny and the Hurricanes Incorporated) and the rights to his songs and trademarks. Paris claimed that over 300 musicians played in the band in its fifty-year existence.
The band inspired the song "Johnny and the Hurricanes" on the album How I Learned to Love the Bootboys, by the band the Auteurs. They were also namechecked in the Kinks' 1973 song "One of the Survivors", and in "Bridge in Time" on the 1990 Burton Cummings album Plus Signs.
Drummer Bill "Little Bo" Savich died on 4 January 2002. Bassist Lionel "Butch" Mattice died on October 16, 2006. Guitarist David Yorko died on 17 February 2017 at the age of 73.