Very sad news to report. Johnny Otis, one of the true greats of rhythm and blues and rock & roll, bandleader, musician, singer, songwriter, A&R man, producer, label owner, DJ, graphic artist, author and sometime politician died yesterday in Los Angeles aged 90.
He was a music industry pioneer, a champion of black music, one of the founders of rock and roll.
No doubt there will be lots of coverage of Johnny’s death in the media over the coming days.
Here is the press report from the Los Angeles Times, to be going on with, and a couple of You Tube clips, his first big hit, the now standard ‘Harlem Nocturne’ recorded in 1945 for Excelsior Records when Johnny ran his own big band and at the top – a rare clip with Roy Buchanan.
Update: The media are carrying a number of obituaries on Johnny Otis and the specialist music press will no doubt have more tributes. Here is the obituary from The Guardian in the UK and an appreciation by Dave Alvin in the L. A. Times.
Plus…..a full 28 minutes of a 1950s Johnny Otis TV Show. Its a bit wonky at the beginning but well worth watching.