My “Curious Mind” makes me wonder why Johnny Rivers is not in “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”. It seems a large miscarriage of justice that the Hall needs to redress. Look at the inductions over the years and you will agree. Johnny Rivers is 76 years old and still putting out amazing new music. He still tours, and his shows are spectacular.
For those who never heard of “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, it is in Cleveland Ohio. The purpose is to honor those who contributed to the industry. However, this deserving candidate Johnny Rivers goes unnoticed year after year. Ignoring Johnny is probably the biggest oversight in the history of The Hall of Fame. When Johnny was younger, he spent a lot of time “California Dreamin’”. Nowadays, he dreams of an evening with “Strangers in the Night” in Cleveland while enjoying “A Taste of Honey”.
Johnny Rivers is the Essence of “Rock and Roll”, a gambler who loves music so much that he continues to play and record new music. I call Johnny a gambler, as he is one of the few artists in history who has reinvented himself more than once and enjoyed success with different styles of music. The man charted songs that are still relevant and have meaning. Johnny recorded so many outstanding songs you could spend “Six Days on the Road” and not listen to all of them.
Johnny started his own record label, “Soul City” records and quickly signed an unknown group, “The Fifth Dimension”. To this day, The Fifth Dimension are one of the greatest vocal groups ever. After all, they did win multiple Grammys. Johnny gave another legend, Glen Campbell one of his biggest hits “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”. How about Grammy award winning songwriter Jimmy Webb (who wrote that song)? Johnny signed Jimmy Webb to Soul City before he ever won a Grammy. Jimmy Webb is the only artist ever to have received Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration. This article is not about Jimmy, but I encourage you to listen to his many amazing albums.
Mr. Rivers has impacted over 6 decades, he is still “Learning to Dance” and he believes that you should always “Do What You Gotta’ Do”. Johnny is a person who has always followed his heart and continues to win fans at live appearances. At one-point Johnny became a born again Christian and recorded some amazing music. Another Icon, Bob Dylan also became a born-again Christian in this period, and he is in the Hall of Fame. Speaking of Bob Dylan, in his bestselling book “Chronicles”, Dylan said that he preferred the Johnny Rivers’ version of “Positively 4th Street” to his own recording of the song.
The chart success of Johnny Rivers is nothing short is phenomenal. Do not be surprised, if Johnny charts again in the future. Johnny is more than worthy to be in The Hall of Fame. His live performances are unbelievable. Listen to any of the “Live at The Whisky a Go-Go” albums if you doubt my words. Speaking of those albums, Johnny Rivers was a big part of creating the legend of the entire “Sunset Strip Scene”. This movement which created new fashion trends, progressive thinking, go-go dancers and a lasting culture, is still happening today, more than fifty years later.
It is not clear why Johnny Rivers is ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it needs to be rectified. Maybe, we need “Outside Help” from another “Secret Agent Man” to get to the bottom of the issue. Possibly, a “Seventh Son” who can raise the dead, to solve this mystery. In the meantime, please “Help Me Rhonda” find a solution to get Johnny in The Hall of Fame. Sure, we will keep “Swayin’ to the Music” while we wait for a positive result.
We could go to “Memphis” and ask “Maybelline” her opinion as we watch the “Summer Rain”. My friend “Natalie” believes that this is a blatant case of prejudice against Johnny, since he is from the “Poor Side of Town”. Another singer on Soul City, “Al Wilson”, may have the answer in the lyrics of the song “The Snake”, which Johnny also recorded. You may have noticed “The Tracks of my Tears” as they roll down my face. These tears are directly because of my “Mountain of Love” for Johnny’s music and the continued shun by The Hall of Fame.
“Baby I Need Your Loving” is getting no love from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Hello Josephine” there may be a solution, let’s ask “Cupid” to draw back his bow and aim it at The Hall of Fame to get Johnny the ”Respect” he has earned. In the meantime, Johnny may go back to” Big Sur” or “China” to meditate and figure this out. Regardless, “Jesus is a Soul Man”, so Johnny understands the “Gypsy Wind” that is blowing. To me, the “Multiplication” does not add up and this is nothing more than some kind of new sickness called “Rockin’ Pneumonia”. “Look to Your Soul” sounds like something The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should examine before “It’s Too Late” and they all become “Slim Slo Sliders”.
Many singers have covered the classic song “Stand by Me”, in my opinion, Johnny’s version stands above all others. The song genuinely comes alive and you can feel his passion as he sings it. Rest assured Johnny, we as fans will always stand by you, regardless of how long the wait. This conundrum is so illogical, when I think about it, I turn a “Whiter Shade of Pale”. Once Johnny does get in, let’s all have a “Wild Night” and put on our “Blue Suede Shoes” to celebrate.
– John Probandt
June 18th, 2019