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Rhythm and Blues Pioneer Johnny Otis.

Bandleader, singer, songwriter, and talent scout Johnny Otis. His musical career spans the big band era, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. In the 40's he played and traveled with the big bands, with the Ink Spots and Louis Jordan. Later, with a pared down band, he was on the forefront of the rhythm and blues. He's credited with discovering Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, Jackie Wilson and Ernestine Anderson. His songwriting hits include "Willie and the Hand Jive," "Roll with Me Henry," and "Every Beat of My Heart." A collection of his work has just been reissued on Capitol Records.


Other segments from the episode on November 21, 1989

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, November 21, 1989: Interview with Johnny Otis; Commentary on Roy Orbison's early career; Interview with Jerry Orbach; Review of Wole Soyinka's memoir "Isara."


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Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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