Johnny and the Hurricanes began in 1957 as The Orbits in Toledo Ohio. Led by saxophonist Johnny Paris, they were a group of school friends who played on a few recordings behind Mack Vickery, a local rockabilly singer.
In 1958, they signed up with Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik of Twirl Records. This led to national engagements and in 1959, now called Johnny and the Hurricanes, they released "Crossfire". This had been recorded in a disused cinema (to provide echo), and was a national hit in the summer of 1959.
The follow up was "Red River Rock", an instrumental version of "Red River Valley" featuring Paul Tesluk on Hammond Organ which was a Top Ten Hit on both sides of the Atlantic and sold over a million copies.
Their gimmick of performing an old tune with a rock and roll beat didn’t last long, however, and by early 1961 “Ja-Da" barely dented the charts and Johnny and the Hurricanes dropped out of music mainstream. They continued to tour Europe for a few more years, famously being supported by the then unknown Beatles when they played the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962.
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