John Hendry Blair was born in Ochitree Scotland and died in 1993 at the age of 48. Was he significant to our music? Well I think so.
His mother’s name was Hendry and he was adopted by his mother’s second husband, Nicholas Cymbal. So that’s where the name “Johnny Cymbal” comes from.
He moved from Scotland to Goderich, Ontario and later to Cleveland Ohio. Most of his early influence came from outside Toronto or Cleveland. He was a singer, arranger and writer and moved a lot.
There are lots of things that he accomplished before his death, but the two things I remember where: In December 1962 in New York City he recorded his self penned “Mr. Bass Man” and used Ronnie Bright from the Valentines for the Bass work, it was released early in 1963 and became a world wide hit.
In 1968 he co-wrote and was the lead vocalist on “Cinnamon” under his younger brother’s name “Derek”. He now had his third hit which gave him solid credentials.
I do not know a lot about the production and writing part of his career, but it was extensive. With his first hit and being a good looking guy, the William Morris Agency made him a teen idol.
I remember buying both of those recordings.
Johhny Cymbal – Mr Baseman
Derek – Cinnamon
He died young, but he made what I feel where significant contributions, yet I bet no one remembers him…