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Johnny Otis
Birth: Dec. 18, 1921
Vallejo
Solano County
California, USA
Death: Jan. 17, 2012
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Bandleader, Songwriter. Famed for the hit "Willie and the Hand Jive" (1958). Born John Veliotes, the son of Greek immigrants, he was reared in Berkeley where his father was the proprietor of a grocery store. Raised in a mainly African American community, he modeled his music style from his exposure to the culture and was a witness to the harsh treatment of minorities which shaped his character as a person. He dropped out of high school and after listening to a Count Basie concert, he embarked on his music career, mastering the drums. He gained experience playing in local bands and formed the ensemble the Otis Love Band with Preston Love. The collaboration lasted less than two years and Otis would move to Los Angeles where he found work as a studio drummer. It would be during this period in 1946, when he scored his first major hit with his version of "Harlem Nocturne". By the 1950s, he had made his mark as a writer and co-penned the first hit of Etta James' career "Roll With Me Henry" (1955) whom he is credited with discovering. Otis went onto host his own popular radio and later television show in the Los Angeles-area. "Willie and the Hand Jive" would be covered by several artists including Eric Clapton, who's version became a Top-40 hit in 1974. When the American music landscape drastically changed with the "British Invasion" followed by heavy medal and punk, Otis retired from the industry during the 1970s. His body of work in music was acknowledged by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when he was inducted as a contributor in 1994. (bio by: C.S.) 
 
Burial:
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: C.S.
Record added: Jan 18, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83676134
Johnny Otis
Added by: Row Walker
 
Johnny Otis
Added by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
 
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