Johnny Preston life and biography

Johnny Preston picture, image, poster

Johnny Preston biography

Date of birth : 1939-08-18
Date of death : 2011-03-04
Birthplace : Port Arthur, Texas
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-03-07
Credited as : Pop rock music singer, Running Bear,

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Johnny Preston was an American pop music singer, who was best known for his international number one hit in 1960, "Running Bear".

John Preston Courville, 18 August 1939, Port Arthur, Texas, USA. This pop ballad and rock singer first performed in the Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas) group the Shades, in 1957, and was brought to the attention of Mercury Records by disc jockey and singer, the Big Bopper (Jape Richardson). Among the tracks Richardson wrote and produced for him was the novelty ‘Running Bear’, a sad tale of Red Indian love gone wrong. The record took four months to chart Stateside but it then went on to became a chart-topper in the US and UK during 1959/60 (after Richardson’s tragic death in the plane crash with Buddy Holly). Despite a disastrous UK tour (cut three weeks short due to poor houses), he had transatlantic Top 20 successes with the follow-ups ‘Cradle Of Love’ and a revival of Shirley And Lee’s ‘Feel So Fine’. He later recorded for Imperial Records, TCF Hall (including ‘Running Bear ’65’), ABC Records and Hallway, but never graced the charts again. He continues to tour and perform from his home base near Dallas.

Preston's pioneering contribution to the genre was recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He also performed at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Missouri. In 2009, Preston performed at the Lamar State College, in his hometown.

Preston had coronary artery bypass surgery in 2010. He died of heart failure in Beaumont, Texas on Friday 4 March 2011, at the age of 71, after years of heart-related illnesses.

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