Sammy Johns

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Sammy Johns
Birth nameSammy Reginald Johns
Born(1946-02-07)February 7, 1946
Charlotte, North Carolina
DiedJanuary 4, 2013(2013-01-04) (aged 66)
Gastonia, North Carolina
GenresFolk rock
OccupationsSinger, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1970–2013
LabelsGeneral Recording Corporation, Warner-Curb, New World, Elektra
 
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Sammy Johns
Birth nameSammy Reginald Johns
Born(1946-02-07)February 7, 1946
Charlotte, North Carolina
DiedJanuary 4, 2013(2013-01-04) (aged 66)
Gastonia, North Carolina
GenresFolk rock
OccupationsSinger, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1970–2013
LabelsGeneral Recording Corporation, Warner-Curb, New World, Elektra

Sammy Johns (February 7, 1946 – January 4, 2013) was an American country singer-songwriter, best known for his million selling 1975 hit single, "Chevy Van".[1]

Career[edit]

Sammy Reginald Johns was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on February 7, 1946. When he was nine years old, Johns' father presented him with a guitar, and by the time he was a teenager he had established his own band, the Devilles.[2] The group performed in local clubs and recorded a few records on the Dixie record label.[2] After a move to Atlanta, Georgia, he was given a recording contract in 1973. General Recording Corporation put out Johns' first solo record, "Early Morning Love", that year.[2]

Although he wrote a number of hit songs for other artists, Johns is best remembered for the one he recorded himself, "Chevy Van". The single drove up to No. 5 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] It remained in the chart for 17 weeks and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. on 4 May 1975.[1]

After his eponymous debut album on the GRC record label, which included "Chevy Van", the singer signed a deal in 1976 with Warner-Curb, which resulted in Johns working on the soundtrack to The Van. The 1982 New World Records single "Falling for You" came to the attention of Elektra, and the company took Johns on board and issued "Love Me off the Road" and "Common Man".[2] When country artist John Conlee covered "Common Man", the single went gold and topped the charts. Conlee made the song his theme, and Johns continued writing songs for others.[2]

Those who have recorded Johns' songs are Waylon Jennings, Sammy Kershaw, and Conway Twitty. In 1985, Jennings serenaded the Statue of Liberty with Johns' song "America", on a nationally broadcast event to mark the statue's restoration.[2] The performance helped turn the single gold, and "America" was nominated for song of the year in country music circles. Johns' "Desperado Love" also brought Twitty his final gold record. Kershaw covered "Chevy Van" on his 1996 album Politics, Religion and Her.[2]

Death[edit]

Johns died on January 4, 2013, at Gaston Memorial Hospital in Gastonia, North Carolina, at the age of 66.[3]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

YearAlbumUSLabel
1973Sammy Johns148General Recording
1994Golden ClassicsCollectables
2000Honky Tonk MoonSouthern Tracks

Singles[edit]

YearSingleChart PositionsRIAAAlbum
US
[4]
US Country
1974"Chevy Van"5GoldSammy Johns
"Early Morning Love"6879
1975"Rag Doll"52
1980"Falling for You"103singles only
1981"Common Man"50
1988"Chevy Van" (re-release)80

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 114. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography by Linda Seida". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Lyttle, Steve (2013-01-04). "Writer of ‘Chevy Van’ dies at 66". CharlotteObserver.com. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 462. ISBN 0-89820-188-8. 

External links[edit]