Johnny Burnette
"The git-tar became my life. All I could play were the D, G and C chords
but I never stopped playing them."
-- Johnny Burnette
With brother Dorsey Burnette and guitarist Paul Burlison, Johnny Burnette had success in Memphis as "The Johnny Burnette Rock'n'Roll Trio." They had a recording contract with Coral records in New York, but the label was putting all its resources into Buddy Holly at the time so the Trio didn't do well. In 1958, with Burlison ready to retire, Dorsey and Johnny got him in Sun studio to cut some demos and the brothers then went west to Los Angeles where they got a "Map of the Stars" and visited the Nelson's house where he auditioned some songs he had written for the young Ricky Nelson. Nelson liked the songs and turned several into hits ("Waitin' In School," "Stood Up," and "Believe What You Say") With Nelson's support in 1960, Johnny got his own recording contract with Liberty records. The pioneering rockabilly style of the Trio would later be given credit for influencing many rock and roll artists, including Elvis Presley. But Johnny Burnette broke through to pop success in 1960 with a different sound. He had heard a demo of a song titled, "Dreamin'" and thought it would sound good backed by violins. He talked the writer, Barry DeVorzon into letting him record it backed by fourteen violins. Liberty then released it with "Cincinnati Fireball," not sure which would be the "A" side. The public requested "Dreamin'" and it charted at #11 in Billboard. Another 1960 release, "You're 16" reached #8. Those would be Johnny's most popular records. But, although his chart success wasn't as noteworthy as other early rock and roll stars, one of the Trio's records, "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" is recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that influenced rock and roll. Johnny Burnette died in a boating accident in 1964. His son, Rocky Burnette had a hit in 1980 with "Tired of Toein' the Line."
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Dreamin' 8/15/1960 11 11
You're Sixteen 11/21/1960 8 11
Little Boy Sad 2/20/1961 17 6
Big, Big World 5/6/1961

God, Country and My Baby 11/6/1961 18 4