Johnnie & Joe Biography

This US R&B duo featured Johnnie Louise Richardson (d. 25 October 1988) and Joe Rivers (Charleston, South Carolina, USA). Emerging from the Bronx, New York, USA, they were famed for their sublime doo-wop-flavoured ballads, notably ‘Over The Mountain, Across The Sea’ (number 3 R&B/number 8 pop, 1957), one of the most memorable and enduring early rock ‘n’ roll hits. Richardson was the daughter of Zelma ‘Zell’ Sanders, the owner of J&S Records. Sanders teamed her up with Rivers and one of the great blends of voices was born. Most of the duo’s records were leased to the Chicago-based Chess Records, who were able to distribute the records nationally. Other great Johnnie And Joe singles included their first hit, ‘I’ll Be Spinning’ (number 10 R&B, 1957) and ‘My Baby’s Gone, On, On’ (number 15 R&B, 1957). Johnnie And Joe songs were especially popular in the Hispanic community, particularly 1960’s ‘Across The Sea’.

After a brief association in the Jaynetts girl group in 1963, Richardson resumed her career with Rivers and the pair made records throughout the 60s. During the 70s and 80s they performed in oldies concerts, and made a critically acclaimed album in 1982.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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