May 28, 2016  

Rhythm and Blues Godfather Johnny Otis Has Passed Away

January 20, 2012 (6:52 am) GMT
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who wrote and recorded 'Willie and the Hand Jive', died at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena on Tuesday, January 17, manager Terry Gould confirms.

Johnny Otis, the godfather of Rhythm and Blues, has passed away at the age of 90. The musician, who wrote and recorded R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive", died Tuesday, January 17 at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena. Otis' manager Terry Gould confirmed news of his passing.

Gould additionally noted that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer had been in poor health for several years. The R&B legend's friend and music historian Tom Reed, meanwhile, told Reuters in his memory, "His role in pop and rock'n'roll music made him a legend, he could do it all. He is one of the greatest talents of American music and he was a great American."

Otis was born John Veliotes to Greek immigrants in northern California, but grew up in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Berkeley. As a teenager, he changed his name to Johnny Otis because he thought it sounded more black. He founded his own band in the mid-1940s and had his first hit with 1945's "Harlem Nocturne".

Otis was credited to helping singers like , Jackie Wilson, Esther Phillips and Big Mama Thornton find their fame. He also wrote and the Pips' 1961 hit "Every Beat of My Heart", and produced Thornton's "Hound Dog," which was later made famous by .

TODAY'S HEADLINES

  1. Kanye West Robbed, Computers Stolen From His Studio
  2. 'Transformers: The Last Knight' Announces Big Reveal on May 31
  3. Dwayne Johnson Hints at Darker Hobbs in 'Fast and Furious 8' Image
  4. Paul Bettany Defends Johnny Depp Amid Amber Heard's Domestic Violence Accusations
  5. Khloe, Kourtney Kardashian, Tyga Celebrate Scott Disick's Birthday in Vegas
  6. Kate Beckinsale: Michael Bay Was Baffled Because 'My Boobs Weren't Bigger Than My Head'
  7. 'Maze Runner 3' Pushed Back to 2018 as Dylan O'Brien Is Still on the Mend After On-Set Accident
  8. PND Serenades Kylie Jenner After She Called Him Out for Deleting Her on Social Media