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Johnny Adams


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January 5, 1932 - September 14, 1998
American blues singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was known as “The Tan Canary” for the amazing range of his singing voice and his gospel influenced style. He began his career singing gospel, but crossed over to secular music in 1959 and scored a national hit with the single “I Won’t Cry.” That was followed by a string of regional hits in the 1960s which included “Release Me” and “Reconsider Me.”

In the 1980s and 1990s Adams recorded several award-winning albums for Rounder Records. He died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1998 after a long battle with cancer

(2) Renowned around his Crescent City home base as “the Tan Canary” for his extraordinary set of soulfully soaring pipes, veteran R&B vocalist Johnny Adams tackled an exceptionally wide variety of material for Rounder in his later years; elegantly rendered tribute albums to legendary songwriters Doc Pomus and Percy Mayfield preceded forays into mellow, jazzier pastures. But then, Adams was never particularly into the parade-beat grooves that traditionally define the New Orleans R&B sound, preferring to deliver sophisticated soul ballads draped in strings.

Adams sang gospel professionally before crossing over to the secular world in 1959. Songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie — the woman responsible for cleaning up the bawdy lyrics of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” enough for worldwide consumption — convinced her neighbor, Adams, to sing her tasty ballad “I Won’t Cry.” The track, produced by a teenaged Mac Rebennack, was released on Joe Ruffino’s Ric logo, and Adams was on his way.


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  • Theeboon

    Why are all the greats so unknown?

    11 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Slim_rafa


    23 Apr 2014 Reply
  • LFireproof

    Undiluted talent..."Reconsider Me" and "After All the Good is Gone" are two my favourites by Johnny.

    4 Dec 2012 Reply
  • srv_

    One of the greatest singers of all time!

    23 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Malbimradak1

    It's absolutely gobstopping hearing this kind of song performed by this kind of singer.

    7 Sep 2011 Reply
  • EarOpen

    Johnny Adams was arguably the best R&B/Jazz/Blues singer ever.

    2 Jun 2009 Reply
  • acastro26

    Great voice and vocal range!

    18 Jan 2009 Reply

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