The group was formed in 1962-3 from the typical mash-up of fledgling bands, eventually segueing “The Belaires” and “The Hi Fi’s” into the The “Johnny Stevens Sextet”. For several years they mostly played area dances and rock shows, including acting as opening band for Dave Clark Five and The Supremes in London arenas.
Johnny Stevens, the group’s handsome, highly personable front man who hailed from Nova Scotia, was black and possessed an outstanding voice. His sidemen were all white.
The group’s genre was largely R & B and driving home from gigs in wee hours, they doted on WLAC Nashville, where host John R broadcast true blues, long before James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Lightnin’ Hopkins and BB King ever became well known.
Strasser, the bass player relates how in the early sixties, when some of them were still underage, the boys would attempt to get into The Brass Rail in London, to catch “The Hawk” where Ken would steal funky licks off Robbie Robertson and Hilton learned to twirl drumsticks like Levon.
Sax player Attwood was affectionately called “Cool C”, after a hipster bebop musician parodied by ‘50’s comedian Sid Caesar. (Not to be confused with 80’s rapper)
As popularity grew, the group began to play nightly at several local and area clubs, mainly Campbell’s and The 400 Club. At this point they signed with Saul Holliff, who promoted and managed Johnny Cash for 17 years. Holliff, made arrangements to have the group record their 45 single for Columbia Records in New York City. It was at this time the group renamed themselves Johnny and the Canadians.
“A million Tears Ago” and “Say Yeah” were written by the Gough / Crockett duo to meme the 60’s British Invasion style. Local popularity surged and the group quit jobs and went on the road, performing at clubs and stage shows throughout Ontario and Quebec, frequently sharing stages with contemporary musicians like Ronnie Hawkins, David Clayton Thomas and Bobby Curtola.
By 1967 the group folded and the various members returned home to disburse to other lives and bands, including locally popular “Plum Loco”. Organist Lou Crockett remains the only member still actively playing, with a group in the Vancouver area. (2018)
Johnny Stevens – Lead vocalist and trumpet
Ken Gough – Lead guitar and tenor sax
Bill Hilton – Drummer and vocalist
Dave Attwood – Tenor and baritone sax
Joe Dengler – Piano and vocalist
Lou Crockett - Hammond B3 and vocalist
Reini Strasser – Bass and backup vocals
The very first and only 45 ever produced by this group hailing from London, Canada. Best described as High Speed 60's Garage, this knockout number will blast most other 45's out into thin air (with very few exceptions). In similar stylings to the killer Montreal garage group The Monks, this song is very reminiscent to their signature track entitled "Long Time Waiting". Both sides offer fantastic similar shades of fuzz with screaming vocals in a power beat rhythm with blasting organ, drum and keyboard work. Impossible to sit down on this high speed killer track with a definite punkish flavor.
This fantastic fast paced wild rock beat release offers pounding reverberated electric drum garage beats with great loud screaming garage fuzzed punk vocals throughout. This amazing group captured one of the fastest hard core punk garage vocal beats ever recorded on wax...and loaded it up with loud, sizzling and electrifying pounding guitar drum beat effects. This release is packed with wild loud punk garage screaming vocals that are totally insane.