A true Texan of Cajun ancestry, who was discovered by J P Richardson, The Big Bopper!…
1. Running Bear/ Mercury 71474/ December 1959/ #1 (3) (Indian sound by George Jones & the Big Bopper)
2. Cradle of Love/ Mercury 71598/ April 1960/ # 7
3. Feel So Fine/ Mercury 71651/ July 1960
After he finished high school he went on to Lamar State College in Beaumont where he formed his first band, THE SHADES, playing all kinds of music at local dances.
Johnny became good friends with THE BIG BOPPER (J.P. Richardson) who was killed in a plane crash with BUDDY HOLLY and RITCHIE VALENS in 1959.
The Big Bopper had written a song called Running Bear, which he offered to Johnny after hearing him singing with his band in a local club.
The song was recorded at the Gold Star Studios in Houston Texas in 1958.
The producer on the recording session was Bill Hall and the personnel was JOHNNY PRESTON (vocal) LINK DAVIS (saxophone) and THE BIG BOPPER, BILL HALL and GEORGE JONES on Indian chants.
Johnny was signed to Mercury records and Running Bear was released in August 1959 and he left the Shades to go solo. The song took a while to take off but it went on to he a million seller. It made No 1 in the USA and ENGLAND in 1960. The follow up to Running Bear was a song written by Jack Fautheree and Wayne Gray called Cradle Of Love which went on to be a hit.
With these hit records Johnny made his first of many visits to England in 1960 on a package show with CONWAY TWITTY and FREDDY CANNON.
He went on to record many songs for Mercury which included Charming Billy, Leave My Kitten Alone, I Want A Rock And Roll Guitar, Chief Heartbreak, Feel So Fine, Hearts Of Stone and many more.
After MERCURY, Preston went on to record for IMPERIAL, HALLWAY, and KAPP where his dream came true to record with THE GREAT BOB WILLS.
Johnny Preston still lives in Texas and is still performing. He was in England in 1998 on a package show with LITTLE EVA, BRIAN HYLAND, BOBBY VEE, and CHRIS MONTEZ, and in January and February of 1999 he was touring the UK again. (Rockabilly Hall)