Johnny Adams – one of the most renowned and versatile artists ever
One of the most renowned and versatile musicians of all time, the late John Adams was born in a religious family on 5th January, 1932 and was the eldest of the 10 children of his parents. His fans popularly named him ‘Johnny Adams’.
Early music career
He was best known for his gospel singing, American blues and Jazz singing and also for his multi octave range of singing voice, falsetto and swooping vocal mannerisms and was rightly termed as the ‘Tan Canary’ by music lovers all over the world.
He left school at the age of 15 and began his professional career in singing gospels with the Bessie Griffin’s Consolators and Soul Revivers. His neighbor, Dorothy LaBostrie, a songwriter, had once heard his melodious voice and inspired him to move on to secular music. In 1959, he went on to perform secular music and recorded his first local hit, LaBostrie’s Ballad “I Won’t Cry” that was on the lips of everybody.
This song was produced by Mac Rebennack and was for Joe Ruffino’s local Ric label. Adam went on to record more music that were produced by Eddio Bio and Rebennack in the next three years. However, his first huge national hit was in 1962 when he recorded ‘A Losing Battle’ written by Rebennack and reached the #27th spot on the Billboard R&B Chart.
“Release Me” – Johnny Adams’ biggest hit in his entire career
Adam left Ric after Ruffino’s death and recorded for various labels that included Eddie Bo’s Gone Records, Wardell Quezergue’s Watch label and the Los Angeles based Modern Records. In 1968, when he signed up with the Shelby Singleton’s Nashville based, SSS International records, he became more popular for the hits that came by. ‘Release Me’, a reissue, originally released on Watch was slotted the #34 spot on the R&B Chart and #82 spot on the pop chart. However, the country song ‘Reconsider Me’ produced by Singleton in 1969 is considered as one of the huge hits of Adam and reached the #8 spot on the R&B spot and #28 spot on the pop chart. Adam went on to make several reissues that were quite popular among his fans across the globe.
Later life and career
He signed up with Rounder Records in 1983, and recorded a series of nine critically acclaimed albums produced by Scott Billington. His later records, beginning with ‘From the Heart’ in 1984, highlighted Adam’s voice and consisted a wide range of blues, jazz and R&B styles. The several albums that were made like ‘Room with a View of the Blues’ in 1988, ‘Walking a Tightrope’ in 1989 and ‘the Real Me’ in 1991, earned him several awards which also included the prestigious W. C. Handy Award. He made many frequent trips to Europe and other international tours promoting his songs and worked with great musicians of his time like Aaron Neville, Lonnie Smith, Dr. John and Harry Connick Jr.
This great musician’s forty year career however, ended with his sad death in 1998 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana after battling with prostate cancer. This legend is regarded as the master of a handful of musical styles like the gospel, soul, blues, country and jazz.
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