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Johnny Otis


1921

John Veliotes (a.k.a. Johnny Otis) is born in Vallejo, California.

1945

Johnny Otis forms his first big band and releases “Harlem Nocturne,” his first recording for the Savoy label.

1948

Bandleader Johnny Otis becomes part owner and co-founder of the Barrelhouse, the first nightclub to exclusively feature rhythm & blues.

1950

“Double Crossing Blues,” by the Johnny Otis Orchestra –featuring the Robins and Little Esther Phillips on vocals – enters the R&B chart, which it will top for nine weeks.

1950

“Mistrustin’ Blues,” by the Johnny Otis Orchesta – featuring Little Esther Phillips and Mel Walker on vocals – enters the R&B chart, which it will top for four weeks.

1958

“Willie and the Hand Jive,” by the Johnny Otis Orchestra, enters the R&B chart, where it will reach #3. It goes on to become an R&B standard, cut by Eric Clapton and others.

1968

Johnny Otis releases ‘Cold Shot,’ his first album in a decade – recorded at the instigation of Frank Zappa - on the Los Angeles-based Kent label.

1970

‘Kooper Session,’ subtitled ‘Al Kooper Introduces Shuggie Otis,’ serves to unveil the abundant talent of bandleader Johnny Otis’ teenage guitar-playing son to a wider audience.

1970

The Johnny Otis Show – featuring such R&B luminaries as Esther Phillips, Eddie Vinson, Roy Milton, Big Joe Turner, Ivory Joe Hunter and Roy Brown – performs at the Monterey Jazz Festival. The performance is released as ‘The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey!.’

1994

Johnny Otis is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ninth annual induction dinner. Etta James is his presenter.

1999

‘The Johnny Otis Rhythm & Blues Caravan,’ a three-CD box set that compiles his seminal recordings for the Savoy label from 1945 to 1952, is released.

Johnny Otis