Johnny Thunder (b. August 15, 1932) is a veteran R&B/pop singer with dynamic tenor vocals who became famous during the early-mid 1960s. Born Gil Hamilton in Leesburg, Florida, he began singing in church and on street corners while in his teens. After moving to New York in the late 1950s, he sang with The Drifters for several months and performed in an Apollo Theater production, "A Blind Man Sings The Blues." He also served as a backup singer for such then-up-and-coming stars as Dionne Warwick and, by the early 1960s, had made his first recordings (as Gil Hamilton) that included the original version of the Bert Berns-penned "Tell Her" (1962), which later became a big hit for The Exciters (as "Tell Him"). On the suggestion of songwriter/producer Teddy Vann, Hamilton recorded an R&B version of the children's nursery song, "Loop De Loop," and changed his stage name to Johnny Thunder.
Johnny Thunder made his national debut in late 1962 with "Loop De Loop," which became a Top 10 hit on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts the following year and went on to become a million-seller. His many hits, which continued through 1973 on the Pop/Rock charts, also included "The Rosy Dance" (1963), "Everybody Do The Sloopy" (1965), "My Prayer" (1966), and "Make Love To Me" (1967), a duet with Ruby Winters that was a remake of the 1954 chart topper by Jo Stafford. Other songs made famous by Thunder include the Tommy James-penned rocker, "I'm Alive" (1968). Thunder's performance impressed Bob Dylan so much that he sang his praises in an interview with Rolling Stone, describing it as
one of the most powerful records I've ever heard.
Since his commercial peak in the 1960s, Johnny Thunder has amassed a loyal fan base and continues to tour actively throughout the world. He performs mainly on luxury cruise ships, with occasional appearances in Las Vegas casinos and celebrity golf tournaments.
- For more info about Johnny Thunder, visit johnnythunder.com.
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Johnny Thunder And Ruby Winters
- Make Love To Me 1967
- A Broken Heart 1966
(B-side of "My Prayer")
- Everybody Do The Sloopy 1965
- Loop De Loop 1962
(This song is based on the well known nursery rhyme of the same name.)
- My Prayer 1966
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