|Johnny Burnette, The Master
Growing up as a youngster in Memphis in the early fifties, Johnny became a golden gloves boxing champ. He always had an interest in music, which eventually led to his forming a musical trio consisting of his brother Dorsey on bass guitar and a friend of his, Paul Burlison, on electric guitar. They became known as the Johnny Burnette Trio. The three played together part time and worked full time as electricians in Memphis. They worked for the same electric company that employed a schoolmate of theirs as a truckers' helper. His name was Elvis Presley. In 1956, after playing at a few fairs, they left Memphis for New York and entered the Ted Mack competitions, where they won on top honors on the shows.
At this point they met Henry Jerome, who became their manager and got them a recording contract with Coral records. One of their first hits for the label, in 1956, was a song called "The Train Kept-A-Rollin" which had moderate success. After a few years together, the trio split up, Dorsey signed with ERA records by late 1959 and Johnny signed with Liberty records about the same time. By the summer of 1960, Johnny had his first national hit with "Dreamin'". Although Johnny died in a fishing accident in Clear Lake California in 1964, his son Rocky is keeping the Burnette name alive with songs like the 1980 hit "Tired of Toein' The Line" for EMI-America records.
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