Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Singer John Fred Gourrier has died at the age of 63. Known as John Fred, his greatest moment came in 1967 when his parody of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Judy In Disguise (with Glasses) knocked The Beatles off the number one slot in the US.

Although his greatest hit, it wasn't Fred's first - as a teenager, he'd recorded one of his own songs, Shirley, with Fats Domino's band and had a hit with that. It was Domino who had inspired him to become a musician:

"It changed everything about me," Gourrier recalled in 2002. "Back in 1953, we were hearing Bing Crosby and those guys. You just didn't hear what Fats was doing. It completely floored me and I was sold, that record right there."

Self-confessed "white boys playing black music", they won themselves a fan in the ultimate rock star:

"Wayne [Cochran, a friend] knocks on the door," Gourrier remembered. "He says, 'Hey, E! I got a guy from the South that wants to see you!' So Elvis says, 'Well, if he's from the South, bring him on in here.' So Wayne says, 'Elvis, I want you to meet John Fred.' Elvis stopped and said, 'John Fred and the Playboys -- 'Boogie Chillun'.'"

While his national fame didn't last, Gourrier remained a legend in his home town of Baton Rouge, regularly playing fourth of July events and hosting a rock and roll radio show on the local radio.

Gourrier's death was due to complications following a kidney transplant. He was 63.

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