John Fred & His Playboys - 1966 - John Fred & His Playboys
John Fred & His Playboy Band was formed in 1955 by 14-year old John Fred Gourrier, a basketball/baseball player at LSU and Southeastern Louisiana University as "The Redcaps”, but in 1956 one of the members of the group who was a big reader of Playboy magazine suggested they rename the group to "The Playboys”. Sam Montalbano”, the president and owner of "Montel” records who also managed the local Catholic Youth Center would hold dances and sock hops. He booked John and his group and a close friend Johnny Ramistella (better known as Johnny Rivers) to as many of them as they could make. With his help the group released a few singles to little success, and they toured the US with Jimmy Clanton, Roy Orbison, Thomas Wayne and Duane Eddy. In 1960 John decides to attend college and at 6 foot 5 inches tall was a decent basketball player. After graduation he formed a new group and they started recording and releasing singleson the small independent label "N Joy” records, like Boogie Children (John Lee Hooker), Dial 101 (Cause I Still Love You), You’re Mad At Me and How Can I Prove. In July 1966 they sign a new contract with Paula records in Shreveport, LA owned by Stan Lewis and in December they released they debut album "John Fred & His Playboys” but it failed to make the charts. It is followed up by sme singles that did go to #1 in Louisiana charts, but again fails to make the national singles charts. On 25 November 1967 they released "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” composed by both Fred and Andrew, that was a parody of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by the Beatles. By 20 January the next year Judy had supplanted "Hello Goodbye” by the Beatles, as the number one record in the U.S. It stayed at #1 in the US for 2 weeks and peaked at #3 in the UK. Fred once stated, "Judy In Disguise" was a once in a lifetime thing. That song was us, but we were so much more, and most people never got to know that side of us."
Because of the success of Judy the group was invited to appear on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”. They also released their second album titled 㦎:40 Of John Fred” which was the length of time of all 12 of the songs that appeared on it but it never made the charts. They did released several LPs and singles but with with little or no success and they split in 1970.
In 1978 John began producing records for other artists, including Irma Thomas. He also went on to become vice president of RCS (Record Company of the South) in Baton Rouge, where he worked as a record producer. In 1984 the small independent company Sugarcane records compiled and released a 12-song compilation album titled "The Best Of John Fred & The Playboys”.
In the late 1990s Fred teamed up with bookie king G. G. Shinn and Joe Stampley of Springhill in North Louisiana to form a country music group calling themselves The Louisiana Boys. In March 1997 they released one album on Bayou Music records titled "The Louisiana Boys” they also performed at venues all throughout the state like the Louisiana Folklife Festival.
On 1 January 2000 John released his first new album in over 30 years with "I Miss Ya’ll (The Unreleased Masters)” on Club Louisianne records located in Baton Rogue. The 15 songs on this album were recorded at several different studios throughout southern Louisiana. The album contained a combination of new versions of some old John Fred songs with newly composed songs.
His final album, Somebody's Knockin' was released in 2002. John Fred died in 2005.