I miss my friend but I know that I'll see him in the great here after and sang with him agian Buffalo Brown "You know, what Nashville needs right now is a good, strong baritone voice, and I’m just the guy to give it to them!" Johnny Duncan leans back, laughs and means every word he’s saying. John Richard Duncan, known to millions of country fans as Johnny, has returned to the recording studio in as fine and resonant a voice as ever after a self-imposed hiatus. "Country tastes have changed to some degree," he acknowledges. "I’m not going to limit myself. We’re doing some two-steps and ballads, yeah, but I’m cutting some country rock as well.
It cooks. Hey, you can line dance to this stuff." Duncan’s early life was steeped in West Texas music. He picked this up naturally as a boy listening to his mother play rhythm guitar in his uncle’s country band. Later, he began sharpening his vocal skills, influenced by his early idols Eddy Arnold, Perry Como, Jim Reeves, and Frank Sinatra.
Johnny was born into a musical family. He is very proud of his talented and famous cousins, including Eddie Seals, Jimmy Seals of Seals & Croft, and country singer Dan Seals. After playing and singing with his musically-gifted family for a few years, he decided to move where the bigger action was—Nashville, Tennessee. The dream began… Starting out in Music City isn’t always easy.
Early jobs came in the form of construction work and progressed to a local radio station, where he was an air personality. During this last stint, he began his on-going songwriting career. The radio station afforded him accessibility to artists, and he was able to start pitching them his songs. That dream became a reality when popular singers such as Charley Pride, Marty Robbins, Chet Atkins, Conway Twitty and Jim Ed Brown recorded Duncan-penned songs. While working at the Franklin, Tennessee radio station, he’d sometimes sing a jingle or write a song on the air.
Guest appearances followed on Nashville’s local television. Ralph Emery invited Duncan to sing on his celebrated WSM-TV morning show, which led to a spot on Bobby Lord’s afternoon program. Don Law of CBS Records happened to be watching and was very excited about Duncan’s performance. The next thing he knew, Duncan was signing his first recording contract.
The charismatic Libran’s next performance wasn’t on radio or a daytime talk show. It was in front of an audience of thousands at a CBS Showcase at Fan Fair. The dream continued… His first CBS single was "Rainbow Road". About three years later, Duncan joined forces with famed producer Billy Sherrill in a long-running partnership.
It took a couple of years and some minor hits until the new team found the perfect formula matching Johnny’s smooth baritone styling with the quality of songs which best suited his sexy voice. The results were worth the wait. "Sweet Country Woman", "Stranger", "Thinkin’ of a Rendezvous", "It Couldn’t Have Been Any Better", "Slow Dancing" and his biggest single, "She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed Anytime", were solid proof the new formula worked. In just a few short years, Duncan racked up an impressive string of number one records, many of them certified gold. Most of those hits are still played on today’s country radio. A few years after beginning his recording career, Johnny met a young jingle singer from the Dallas, Texas area.
Janie Fricke had a beautiful voice which nicely complemented his styling. He soon included Fricke in his shows and on his records, leading to a Country Music Association nomination for Best Vocal Duo and to Fricke’s own contract with Duncan’s CBS label. During these years, success came naturally to the handsome 6’4" Texan. He toured the world, performed on numerous national television shows and even was in the movies, including Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way You Can. After the years of great success, the road-weary singer began to think more and more about home and Texas. With much soul-searching, he elected to go on a hiatus from the business of singing and to plunge into the business of raising his children.
He later remarried, this time to a pretty Georgia native named Connie Smith. A few years later, their son John Isaac was born. "While I was away from Nashville, I was never completely removed," Duncan recalls. "I worked about 10 dates a month to keep my voice in shape, but I worked at my own pace, always thinking of an eventual return to Nashville and recording." In 1997, that goal was realized as he went back into the studio to work on songs for an upcoming album. The dream comes full circle… With homes in both Nashville and Texas, Johnny Duncan combined his career with his home roots.
Along the way, he found the best of both worlds. "When you’re an entertainer, you can’t just sit and do nothing. It’s in your blood, and it never leaves. I guess I’ll be singing and writing forever." Sadly, he passed away on 14th August 2006 at the age of 67 in Fort Worth, Texas From Johnny Duncan Web Side www.johnnyduncanmusic.com Read more on Last.fm.
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