|Johnny Stark, Rockin'n'Billy
Johnny Stark was born John G. Sticco in Englewood, New Jersey to a middle class Italian American family. His father was a pharmacist and owned his own pharmacy, and his mother was a house wife. From the earliest age he always wanted to be a singer. starting his training in opera at a young age, he was recognized as a child prodigy. at twelve he received his first public recognition singing L'Paglicci, with a guest appearance on the Captain Kangaroo Show. At sixteen while serving in the airforce, he switched to the big band sound.
At 19 he moved to the rock 'n' roll scene. Johnny's first record "So Lovable". at the age of 20 he recorded his popular song "Rockin' Billy," which he performed on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. Johnny had one of those very rare voices unlike any other of his generation. Johnny was tall & very handsome. He had a reMarkable fresh style of singing & sparked the interest of several different record labels. Johnny even had a fan club in Hollywood when Johnny was on the Crystalette record label. After he was on American Bandstand, Johnny was rediscovered by Mark Traversino in 1960 when Johnny met Mark at a club in South Gate, California. Johnny did a jam session with Mark and his band. Mark was blown away by Johnny's voice. Mark told Johnny to look him up in a couple of months. because he would be opening up his own night club called "The Samba". Johnny worked at that club for about a year. Johnny then went on to do the circuit of night clubs, in the Los Angeles area, while continuing his professional realationship with Mark for many, many years. They worked and wrote many songs together. Mark is considered Johnny's best friend to this day. Johnny toured all over the U.S. doing local TV shows including Louisiana Hayride, which Elvis also did before.
Johnny also sang on the Gene Vincent show doing his hit record Be-Bop-A-Lula and sang with Elvis's past group the Bill Black Combo. Johnny also worked with Eddy Cochran & Ritchie Valens. through the years he was recording records for Crystalette & the Luna label. He went on to tour thoughout the U.S. and Canada with many of the top pop rock stars such as Connie Francis, Frankie Avalon and Paul Anka. Returning to hollywood, he worked clubs all over L.A., from Beverly Hills to the famous Sunset Strip. then his career led him back to N.Y., to work the well known nightclubs. the Copacabana, El Morocco and the Latin Quarter. He also performed at the Apollo Theater to standing ovations.
At that point a friend of Johnny's named him Johnny Apollo, because he thought Johnny looked like a Greek god and a friend of Johnny's had him sing off a record label called "Olympia" to record a great song titled "Goddess of Love" which reached the charts. Very few singing artists could make the crossover from rock 'n' roll to rock and blues like Johnny could do. When Johnny was called back to perform at the Hollywood Palladium, he went into the studios and recorded "Good, Good, Woman" & "I Don't Need No Doctor" for Gene Norman's Crescendo Records.
He stayed in the L.A. area, where he was in great demand at all the popular hot spots in town. Major hotel casinos in Las Vegas, Tahoe and Reno soon beckoned Johnny to come and perform for his loving fans. In 1975 he did a recording of the James Brown song "I Feel Good" with the Tonight Show Band led by Tommy Neusom with the help of the famous jazz pole winner "Chubby Jackson" & his son Duffy Jackson who was then working with Sammy Davis Jr. after 1975. In present days Johnny has teamed up with his fiance Sheri Livingston. They are called "Sheri & Johnny". They are now performing in the casino resorts in Pennsylvania & NYC U.S.A.
Crystalette Records: Cold Coffee - Rockin' Billy - I Wanna See You - Rock, Baby, Roll - Waitin' - Teenage Lovers - Feeling Like A Fool - Drivin' Me Out Of My Mind - Hopelessly In Love - Why, Why, Why - I Wanna See You - Little Boy Blues - Broken Heart - The Clock - Roll Baby Roll
Luna Records: Sweet Thing - You Gotta Have Soul
Courtesy of Giovanni Sticco, 2003/2006