Johnny Rivers celebrates his 76th birthday on November 7th. Born John Henry Ramistella in New York City, his family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he was influenced at a young age by the music of the Bayou State. Johnny formed his first band while he was still in high school. On a trip to New York, Johnny was urged by legendary DJ Alan Freed to change his name to “Rivers”, after the Mississippi River. He later moved to Nashville, where he spent a few years concentrating on being a songwriter. Rivers also found work as a studio musician in Los Angeles, and won a year long contract to open at the brand-new Whisky A Go Go, on the Sunset Strip. His first hits were recorded there.
On Wayback Wednesday, WMTR features Johnny Rivers doing his biggest hit, “Poor Side Of Town”, which went to Number 1 in 1966. But Johnny’s still going strong, as you’ll see in this live performance from just last year! Can anyone figure out why the great Johnny Rivers is not in the Rock N’Roll Hall of Fame?