Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Most Underrated Performer of His Generation?

Considering the decade or so from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, perhaps one performer should stand as an icon of the era. Sadly, that icon is little discussed (and perhaps little respected). Johnny Rivers, who had a string of hits that include: "Baby I Need Your Lovin'," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Curious Mind," "Help Me Rhonda," "Look to Your Soul," "Maybelline," "Memphis," "Midnight Special," "Mountain of Love," "Poor Side of Town", "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," "Sea Cruise," "Secret Agent Man," "Seventh Son," "Slow Dancin'," "Summer Rain," "Tracks of My Tears," and "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," was a recording giant for a time. Today, he is all but forgotten in the annals of popular music.

Perhaps, some might say, that is because he had the innate ability to make every one of his songs sound like a cut-rate cover of some other song, but I would disagree. Rivers' "White Boy Blues" sort of style is sometimes a bit less than genuine, but for me, it works. The Michael Bolton of his time, some would argue. I might not disagree. But, you have to admire an original. And Johnny Rivers was a true original.

And, taken at face value, the lyrics to "Summer Rain" make for an eerily fitting coda to the era.

Check him out next summer at a state fair near you. He's probably opening for Joan Jett.


Anonymous said...

And it looks like we may now have a lead on a birthday gift for P's father next month. Thanks!

My only question is this: How is it that you, a lad surely no older than 27 years, know of this performer? It seems that your worldliness belies your youth.


comoprozac said...

I was thinking that maybe he was more like the Art Alexakis (sp?) of our time...or Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Jami said...


What's the plan for this weekend? We are having a surprise party for my little sister on Saturday at noon. My parents are coming up from Springfield and we are going to Rocheport for lunch (it is her 21st birthday...woo hoo) we should be back around 3:00 as Joe has band practice. So if you are coming in on Saturday just wanted to let you know that we will be gone from noon until three. Let me know your plans.

P.S. I have a nasty case of poison ivy!!!! Start singin' -J

comoprozac said...

I'd like to point out that you've been listening to Jolie Holland for like a week. Where's the love for Mr. Rivers?

ATR said...

What would you listen to? I haven't dedicated an entire post to Jolie Holland, have I? I think the love balances out. I will have to change that link soon.