expand Johnny Rivers

Born John Henry Ramistella in New York and transplanted to Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a youngster, he went on to learn guitar around the age of 8.  He cut his first sides at age 14 for the Suede label with his band The Spades.  

He had no formal musical training whatsoever, a real plus in my opinion as rock is an attitude and not a category, and went on to conquer the top ten after Alan Freed suggested a name change.  Thinking of the muddy Mississippi he changed his last name to Rivers.  

He relocated to Los Angeles, found a long term engagement at the Whiskey A Go Go, recorded the song which put him on the map, 'Secret Agent Man' and followed that song up with a Number One hit 'Poor Side of Town'.  

Johnny went on to perform at Monterey Pop, continued to make records and became a bit of a wizard in record production.  Johnny is still out there kicking.


  • Bob Ohsiek Seemed like he was up on the marquee for a long time.