Saturday, February 11, 2012

Johnny "Guitar" Watson: A Real Mother For Ya

The late Johnny Guitar Watson’s career spanned forty years, but his most successful period was during the disco craze in the late 1970s. It was the second time he would re-invent his persona – the first was in the 1950s when John Watson, Jr. became Johnny Guitar Watson after seeing the movie “Johnny Guitar.”

In the 1970s, he joined the burgeoning disco scene and changed his appearance in the process with costumes that were slightly less ostentatious that those of Elton John and Bootsy. Sporting a fro, it was not unusual for Watson to accessorize with large hats, gold lamé jackets, big sunglasses, and an over abundance of jewelry.

Something must have worked, as Watson’s career began to flourish. From 1974 to 1980, he had 10 hits on the R&B Charts. While he had a string of recordings throughout the fifties and sixties, only one ever charted.  “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights” peaked at 10 on the R&B chart. Despite that, he was well known and influenced and inspired a number of guitarists. Steve Miller references Watson’s single “Ganster of Love” in his hit “The Joker.”

In 1977, Watson released his biggest hit, “A Real Mother for Ya.” It peaked on the R&B chart at #5 and was his only record to make it to the Hot 100. “A Real Mother for Ya” barely missed the Top 40 as it charted at 41 – hence, the song is our “Bubbling Under” hit for this Saturday.

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