Johnny Otis (born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes; December 28, 1921 – January 17, 2012) was an American singer of Greek descendant, musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, talent scout, disc jockey, record producer, television show host, artist, author, journalist, minister, and impresario. He was a seminal influence on American R&B and rock and roll. He discovered numerous artists early in their careers who went on to become highly successful in their own right, including Little Esther Phillips, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Ace, Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard, and The Robins (who eventually changed their name to The Coasters), among many others. Otis has become widely synonymous with being known as the original "King of Rock and Roll" and the "Godfather of Rhythm and Blues".
Links To Peel
In Margrave Of The Marshes, Peel mentioned playing Johnny Otis' hit Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me to his granny who seemed to be impressed with the record, which reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart in 1957. The song was played on Peel's show and on occasionally played other tracks from the artist.
- 13 January 1981: Midnight In The Barrelhouse (album with Dee Williams & James Von Streeter - The Original Johnny Otis Show Volume II) Savoy
- 19 February 1998: Ma (He's Making Eyes At Me) (album - The Greatest Johnny Otis) Ace
- 12 June 2001: Jaws