Johnny Rivers - Songs


Johnny Rivers (b. November 7, 1942) is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer who became famous during the mid-late 1960s. He is a highly versatile performer with a long string of hits through 1980 covering a wide variety of genres that include early rock and roll, rockabilly, R&B, blues, folk, pop, blue-eyed soul, and soft rock.

Born John Henry Ramistella in New York City and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he began playing the guitar at age eight. By junior high, he was sitting in with various local bands, including one known as The Rockets led by Dick Holler (who later wrote "Abraham, Martin And John"). At 14, he formed his own band, The Spades, and made his first recordings. They performed throughout their home state of Louisiana and also toured Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. In 1957, he met Alan Freed who helped him land several record contracts and also advised him to change his name to Johnny Rivers. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1961 where he worked as a songwriter and studio musician. In 1964, he began performing at the Whisky a Go Go as the legendary nightclub's opening act and developed his signature "go go" sound. He recorded his debut album live at this venue, the Lou Adler-produced "Johnny Rivers At The Whisky A Go Go," which reached #13 on the Billboard 200 and included his first chart hit, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis."

Rivers made his debut on the Pop/Rock charts in 1964 with "Memphis," which became a Top 5 hit. This was followed by a string of early rock and roll, R&B, and blues covers that also included "Maybellene" (1964), "Mountain Of Love" (1964), "Midnight Special" (1965), "Cupid" (1965), and "Seventh Son" (1965). Other early hits included "Secret Agent Man" (1966), the theme song to the popular TV series, and his covers of the Pete Seeger-penned folk anthem, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" (1965), and the country classic, "(I Washed My Hands In) Muddy Water" (1966). Rivers then topped the charts in 1966 with his self-penned ballad, "Poor Side Of Town," which would become his biggest hit and only #1 record. Other top hits followed that included the Motown covers, "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" (1967) and "The Tracks Of My Tears" (1967), the introspective, self-penned "Look To Your Soul" (1968), "Summer Rain" (1967), "Rockin' Pneumonia - Boogie Woogie Flu" (1972), and "Swayin' To The Music (Slow Dancin')" (1977).

Rivers' many awards and accolades include being inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009. He continues to tour and perform actively.


Disclosure: The following links will take you to various online merchants outside of that sell recordings and other merchandise for the performing artist featured on this page. Please note that these are referral or affiliate links from which may receive, at no additional cost to you, a commission if you should make any purchases through them.


To listen to a song clip, click any song title that has a speaker icon. This will take you to a list of links to CD and/or MP3 product pages from one or more online merchants that have sound samples.

Johnny Rivers And Friends

Johnny Rivers

Jump to:
Previous Artist | Next Artist