Johnny Rivers: Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu

John Henry Ramistella was born in New York City in 1942, but moved with his family to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when he was very young. He grew up listening to the blues and r&b sound of New Orleans music, and that influenced many of the hits he’s recorded in a career that’s lasted several decades. Oh yeah…you know him much better by his performance name, Johnny Rivers. One of his biggest hits, a comeback hit if you will in 1972, came directly from Johnny Rivers’ Louisiana roots.

Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu had been a big hit the first time around back in the fifties for Huey “Piano” Smith & The Clowns out of the Crescent City. Rivers, backed by the famed Wrecking Crew musicians in L.A. recorded the song for his L.A. Reggae album in 1972, and it reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Rivers’ third million-selling song.

- John Hale

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