R&B Icon Johnny Otis Passes
January 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM (PT)
Legendary R&B singer/songwriter/musician and LOS ANGELES disc jockey JOHNNY OTIS died at his home in ALTADENA, CA, at the age of 90, the L.A. TIMES reports. OTIS wrote the 1958 classic, Willie and the Hand Jive," and hosted Oldies radio shows on radio stations such as KPFK/LOS ANGELES.
The son of Greek immigrant parents, JOHN VELIOTES was raised in a predominantly black neighborhood in BERKELEY, CA in the 1920s, where he decided at a young age that he'd rather be black. That led to a life in music, where he helped him discover such artists as ETTA JAMES, LITTLE RICHARD, JACKIE WILSON and HANK BALLARD.
OTIS also fronted his own big band , which played R&B, jazz, soul, gospel and roots-rock revue for decades; he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Here's his big hit.