Daily Archives: July 15, 2010

Johnny Restivo

Gary: Well here is a really obscure song from 1959, did not chart on Billboard, but made it to #28 on the CHUM Chart (in Toronto).  He recorded his song when he was 15 and used Jerry Landis on Guitar (Paul Simon).

He has hosted TV Shows in Argentina, traveled the World but for a kid born in New York he is really not that well know here.  The only people who have anything on him are the Rockabilly.nl people.

Johnny (John Charles)

born in the North Bronx,

New York September 13, 1943

Johnny Restivo

The Shape I’m In / Sept 1959 / RCA47-7559 #28 CHUM Chart

Johnny and his 9 year younger brother Gerard were sons of Jack and Jeanette Restivo. In 1959 Johnny was discovered by Joe Mulhall and Paul Neff and in June 9, 1959 he recorded “The Shape I’m In” and “Ya, Ya” at RCA, only 15 years old, with Paul Simon (aka Jerry Landis) playing his guitar.

In 1960-1961 Johnny was on tour in Australia. He played in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth as well as many other places while there.

From there he also had engagements in South America, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Belgium. While in Argentina he hosted his own variety television show called “The Johnny Restivo Show“. The program was on the air for 3 years from 1961-1963 and was sponsored by the Coca Cola Company.

Between 1962-1964 even while doing the television program Johnny found time to play at the South American “Copa Cabana” club in Rio and the Waldorf in Santiango, Chile. He also performed in Uruguay and Brazil.

Johnny went on tour beginning in 1963. His first country of this multi-country tour was South Africa. He visited Kenya, Southern Rhodesia and Johannesburg. This part of the tour lasted about 6 months. While in Johannesburg during 1963-1964 he recorded an album on the RCA label entitled “Spotlight On Johnny Restivo“.

In 1965 he went on to London, England, where he performed at the London Palladium as well as many other venues. During the years of 1965-1966 London became Johnny’s home base for the next leg of his tour. From there he spent 2 months touring Israel. One of the places he performed at was the Caliph Club in Jaffa. He also had engagements in Eilat. Then it was on to Italy for a multi-city tour working through the “Johnny Pangazio Agency”. After completion of the Italian segment of his tour he went on to Paris, France, for a short stay. In 1967 the final leg of the tour took him back home to the USA.

Once back home in New York City Johnny was represented by many different agencies including the William Morris Agency. He mostly worked nightclubs, resorts and cruises throughout the USA.

In 1969 Johnny was drafted into the United States Armed Forces. He did his basic training in South Carolina and Advanced Infantry Training in El Paso, Texas. He was then stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. He inquired about Special Services, auditioned and was accepted into the 7th Army Soldiers Chorus. Touring again but now for the US Army. He visited Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium and Italy.