Obituary: Johnny Otis

Johnny Otis, rhythm and blues pioneer, dies: Aidin Vaziri | Johnny Otis, the bandleader, pioneering producer, singer, songwriter and radio host who was at the forefront of the rhythm and blues movement, died at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena on Tuesday. He was 90. Mr. Otis had been in poor health for several years, said his manager, Terry Gould. Best known for his 1958 rock and roll spoof “Willie and the Hand Jive,” Mr. Otis, born John Veliotes in 1921 in Vallejo, was the son of Greek immigrants who ran a grocery store in Berkeley. Growing up in an integrated neighborhood made a big impression on him.”Black culture captured me,” Mr. Otis said. “I loved it, and it was richer and more fulfilling and more natural. I thought it was mine.”
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