Wer war/ist The Downbeats feat. Johnny Amelio ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD und mehr

The Downbeats feat. Johnny Amelio

John Amelio was born in 1939 in San Jose, California. He graduated from high school in 1957, the same year The Downbeats were formed in Hollister, CA. Johnny Amelio and saxist Joe Serrano played in a high school dance band called The Band-O-Liers, along with Bill Paradis and Delbert Contival on trumpet and Bill Lanning on drums. Inspired by the sounds of rock and roll music of the day, they decided to form their own band. They recruited guitarist Grover York, and Amelio took over lead vocals. Paradis remained on the 88s and was the leader of the band. Contival and Serrano became the saxophone section and Lanning stayed on drums.

The Downbeats quickly became an instant local suc- cess with the help of Johnny’s stage presence and the band’s tight musicianship. They recorded their first songs at Pat Patterson’s garage studio in Santa Clara. Johnny had met Patterson a couple of years earlier when he and a friend heard some music com- ing from the American Legion hall in Hollister. Patterson had booked one of his country bands there and 16-year-old Johnny told them he knew some Hank Williams songs, so the band let him up to sing a few numbers. Patterson liked Johnny and his singing and offered to record him some- time. Johnny took him up on his offer when The Downbeats got together. Patterson’s studio was set up in his garage at his house and lacked the quality sound of more professional studios.

The first two songs recorded weren’t released at the time but the band went back to the studio and cut Jugue and Downbeats, which Patterson released on his Blue Moon label. Jugue is a rock and roll monster, a barely controlled slice of insanity, with Johnny’s snarling vocals and York’s mean guitar laid over a solid rockin’ rhythm section driven by Lanning‘s sledgehammer drumming. “‘Jugue,‘ which I heard first from someone in the military serv- ice, is a suggestive term for sex,” said Amelio in a recent interview with Russ Wapensky. The Downbeats wrote the song but Patterson took the songwriting credit on the record— a common case back then. The next killer waxing for Blue Moon was Jo Ann - Jo Ann. Although the song is as frantic as Little Richard in his best years, there’s a tender story behind. “I wrote the song for my girlfriend Jo Ann, before she became my wife,” said Amelio...

Marc Mittelacher in August 2020

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