Ahmet Ertegun Award
There was nothing Johnny Otis couldn’t do.
He was a bandleader, a producer, a promoter, a musician, a talent scout and a label owner, accomplishments eclipsed only by the role that was his crowning glory: Godfather of R&B.
Hall of Fame Essay
When I wrote Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll, one of the figures that wove through several of the book’s chapters was that of Johnny Otis. In the fall of 1945, when Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers recorded their legendary R&B hit “Drifting Blues,” Otis was the drummer who laid down the graveyard shuffle beneath Charles Brown’s astounding vocal.
Six years later, as a talent scout for King Records, Otis discovered the group — they were the Royals then, later the Midnighters — whose “Work With Me Annie” would be one of the enduring birth cries of classic rock & roll.
when it comes to R&B and jazz, he’s a sure enough a guru
Photography: Kevin Mazur, WireImage
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