Personalities | Johnny & The Hurricanes | Fifties | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1958–61)

Formed in Ohio in 1958 by John Pocisk (a.k.a. Johnny Paris, saxophone), Paul Tesluk (organ), Dave Yorko (guitar), Lionel Mattice (bass) and Tony Kaye (drums, replaced by Don Staczek on ‘Red River Rock’ and by Bo Savich), the group accumulated nine US hits between 1959 and 1961, the biggest of which was 1959’s ‘Red River Rock’, a rocked-up version of ‘Red River Valley’. The formula for their hits, most of which were dominated by Tesluk’s organ, was to play well-known tunes in rock’n’roll style (e.g. ‘Blue Tail Fly’ became 1960’s US Top 20 hit, ‘Beatnik Fly’). The group disbanded in 1961, reputedly due to exhaustion from continual touring. John Pocisk, who performed until 2005, died in 2006.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Rock
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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