Chances are that sometime, somewhere, out of the corner of one ear, at least, you've heard the iconic (yet all-but-forgotten) "Willie and the Hand Jive". Set to a Bo Diddley beat, it was an infectious little number that made quite a splash back in its day. Here's a fun live version
of the bouncy tune, complete with the three largest dancing girls you're ever likely to see, and here's the original 1958 recording
. The composer of the tune, the son of Greek immigrants who decided that the world of black music was where he wanted to be, was one Johnny Otis
, who has just died at the grand old age of 90
. Shortly after its release, "Willie and the Hand Jive" was covered by early rock icons like Bo Diddley
and, across the pond in England, Cliff Richard
. But apart from his most famous tune, Johnny did a LOT of recording and performing throughout his lengthy career, so there's...
Here's some other Johnny Otis stuff, but only a fraction of what's out there...
(from Johnny's jazz years - this is from 1945)
Crazy Country Hop
(another number featuring the Bo Diddley beat - fun stuff from 1958)
Rock Me Baby
(doo wop/jump blues ditty - 19??)
(from 1968 - fun! - and features plenty of cursing!)
(instrumental - 19??)
Low Down Dirty Dog Blues
(another instrumental, nothing earth-shattering, but the video features a ton of Johnny Otis photos, record jackets and show posters, worth a view)
TV appearance with guitarist Roy Buchanan and son Shuggie Otis
And speaking of Johnny's son Shuggie Otis
, hey, he deserves a post of his own.
Rest in peace, Johnny Otis.