Johnny Rivers (born John Ramistella on November 7, 1942 in New York City) is an American rock and roll singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer.
The Ramistella family moved from New York to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when John was five years old. He began playing guitar at the age of eight, and was influenced by the distinctive music of Louisiana.
Johnny Ramistella formed his own band, The Spades, in junior high school and made his first record at age 14. On a trip back to New York in 1958, he met Alan Freed who advised him to change his name, so Johnny Ramistella became Johnny Rivers after the Mississippi River that flows near Baton Rouge. Alan Freed got Johnny Rivers some recording contracts. From March 1958 to March 1959, Rivers released three records which did not sell.
In 1959, Johnny Rivers returned to Baton Rouge. While playing throughout the American South, in Birmingham Rivers met Audrey Williams, the widow of Hank Williams. She took Johnny to Nashville where he recorded two more records. They did not sell either but Johnny stayed in Nashville as a songwriter and demo singer for $25 a demo. While in Nashville, Johnny w...