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Johnny Powers

Rockabilly artist Johnny Powers' story is one of the more intriguing the genre has to offer. Born John Leon Joseph Pavlik in 1938 in East Detroit, MI, he was the oldest of five children. The family later moved to the small town of Utica, MI, north of Detroit, where he was raised. Pavlik was exposed to music from an early age by members of his father's family, which included several amateur and semi-professional musicians who played weddings and local dances. It was country music, however, that first drew Pavlik into music on a personal level; he discovered Lonnie Baron, a veteran country singer with a show on local radio and would listen and try to play along with a guitar that he'd bought for $2.50 from a neighbor. He later got some helpful instruction from Marvin Maynard, a professional musician who lived in Utica. In 1954, at age 16, Pavlik joined Jimmy Williams and the Drifters, a local country band that played at a local venue called Bill's Barn and got a featured radio spot on a radio station out of Marine City, MI. He also played on one single cut by the band, but it wasn't long before rock & roll attracted Pavlik. It was Jack Scott's single, "Baby She's Gone," that drew him into rock & roll.

Courtesy of Jimmy Williams' brother Russ, Pavlik discovered Elvis Presley when he was still a Memphis-based phenomenon, and his current single was "Milk Cow Blues Boogie," which really interested him, as a country song with a rock & roll beat. Soon he was adding the beat to his own country songs, and in 1957, Johnny Powers, as he was now known, got an audition with Fortune Records in Detroit. He paid $100 for his own session to record a pair of songs, "Honey, Let's Go to a Rock and Roll Show" b/w "Your Love" on the Hi-Q label. A black deejay named Ernie Durham played his record on WJLB, and Johnny Powers was one of the few white artists who would play the record hops that Durham sponsored. He later put together a band, Johnny Powers & His Rockets, with his friend Marvin Maynard on bass, Clark Locker on the drums, and Stan Getz on guitar. Powers jumped to the Fox label in 1958, getting a pair of regional hits with "Rock Rock" and "Long Blond Hair." The group got steady work cutting demos, some of which have surfaced as bootleg releases in recent years. Among his strongest work from this period were a pair of originals, "Mama Rock" and "Indeed I Do," cut for Leedon. On both, he sounds like the young, wild Elvis Presley that just arrived at RCA, and the group sings uncannily like the Jordanaires on the latter track.

Things began to happen faster for Johnny Powers when his manager, Tommy Moers, got him a contract with Sun Records in 1959, heralded with the release of "With Your Love, With Your Kiss" b/w "Be Mine early that year. A second single followed, but Powers was dropped by Sun in 1960. He later became the first white artist signed to Motown Records, but with the passing of the '60s into the '70s, Power's career found him on the other side of the studio glass, producing hits with Tim Tam & the Turn-Ons' "Wait A Minute" and Jack Kittel's oddball country sickie "Psycho." Still active today, Johnny Powers is proof positive of rock's ability to produce a true survivor who also is a true believer in the strength that lies within the music itself. ~ Cub Koda & Bruce Eder
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rockin Legends Pay Tribute To Jack White

2. I'm Shakin'

3. Salute Your Solution

4. Steady As She Goes

6. Another Way To Die

8. Fly Farm Blues

9. We're Going To Be Friends

10. Blunderbuss

11. Fell In Love With A Girl

13. Top Yourself

14. Icky Thump

x

Track List: Rockin' Bones: 1950's Punk & Rockabilly

Disc 1

1. Rockin' Bones

2. Let's Go Baby

3. Baby Let's Play House

4. Little Girl

5. Cat Man

6. Lobo Jones

7. Juvenile Delinquent

8. Froggy Went A Courting

9. Rattlesnake Daddy

10. Down On The Farm

11. Rockin' In The Graveyard

12. Dancing Doll

13. Long Blond Hair, Red Rose Lips

14. Action Packed

15. Boppin' High School Baby

16. Believe What You Say

17. Sunglasses After Dark

18. Rumble

19. Down The Line

20. Pink Cadillac

21. Black Cadillac

22. Who's Been Here

23. I Need A Man

24. Please Give Me Something

25. Sinners

Disc 2

1. Rock Around With Ollie Vee

2. Lou Lou

3. Rock Crazy Baby

4. Love Bug Crawl

5. Fool I Am

6. Red Hot

7. Love Me

8. She's My Witch

9. Lordy Hoody

10. Bloodshot

11. Trouble

12. Hot Shot

13. Long Gone Daddy

14. Curfew

15. Put Your Cat Clothes On

16. Pink And Black

17. Domino

18. Jungle Rock

19. Ubangi Stomp

20. Chicken Walk

21. Chicken Rock

22. Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe

23. Shirley Lee

24. Woman Love

25. One Night Of Sin

Disc 3

1. Blue Suede Shoes

2. Duck Tail

3. Stack-A-Records

4. Daddy-O Rock

5. Move

6. Brand New Cadillac

7. Rumble Rock

8. Hep Cat

9. Cast Iron Arm

10. Switch Blade Sam

11. Ballin' Keen

12. Sweet Rockin' Baby

13. Get Rhythm

14. Rock Billy Boogie

15. Crazy Baby

16. Susie-Q

17. Worried 'bout You Baby

18. I Love My Baby

19. Come On Little Mama

20. Whistle Bait

21. Spin The Bottle

22. Bertha Lou

23. Real Gone Daddy

24. My Pink Cadillac

25. Draggin'

Disc 4

1. Action Packed

3. Who Do You Love

4. Summertime Blues

5. The Way I Walk

6. Wild Wild Women

8. Get Hot Or Go Home

9. Swamp Gal

10. Miss Pearl

11. Mercy

12. Rock Boppin' Baby

13. Rockin' Daddy

14. Rock It

16. Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll

17. Shake Um Up Rock

18. Red Hot Rockin Blues

19. Bang Bang

20. One Hand Loose

21. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

22. Fujiyama Mama

23. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket

24. Oh Love

25. School Of Rock 'n Roll

26. Rock-N-Bones

Comments

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johnny powers is badass look him up

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