Johnny Preston, singer
birth name: John Preston Courville

Johnny Preston

August 18, 1939, Port Arthur, TX ~ March 4, 2011, Beaumont, TX

Sam Monroe, president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, said there was a community pride about this local boy who did good. […] He said J.P. Richardson, known nationally as the Big Bopper with his hit, Chantilly Lace, wrote the song Running Bear, which made Preston famous. “He presented it to Johnny in a club in Port Neches. He had a tape demonstration.Johnny didn’t like the song because it really didn’t fit his style and it really didn’t portray his voice in the right way. He was a magnificent singer with a great range,” Monroe said. Monroe said Richardson told him that if Preston didn’t want it, it would be a hit for someone else. ~ Port Arthur News: Johnny Preston Obituary ~ March 4, 2011 © The Port Arthur News

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Also on August 18 ~ Everlast born ~ Scott McKenzie dies 

August 18, 1962 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (2) Bobby Vinton, Roses Are Red (My Love) ~ #2 (4) Little Eva, The Loco-Motion ~ #1 (1) Neil Sedaka, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do


With its infectious, rhythmic “ooka-chunka” chant, [Running Bear] told of the doomed love affair of two Native Americans, and was composed by disc jockey and songwriter JP Richardson, also known as the Big Bopper. He said he was inspired to compose the song by a Dove-soap television commercial, but it was equally indebted to Shakespeare for its Romeo and Juliet theme, with the eponymous hero's love interest, Little White Dove, belonging to an enemy tribe. The song also neatly fitted the “death disc” trend of the era, whereby songs such as Endless Sleep and Tell Laura I Love Her depicted the premature demise of teenage sweethearts. ~ The Guardian: Johnny Preston Obituary ~ March 6, 2011 © The Guardian

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