The Best of Johnny Madara
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A retrospective of Johnny Madara's career as a performer, including 30 songs, 4 of which have never been released, with over 40 historical photos of his 50 years in the music business. This historical CD contains valuable information, when available, on the musicians who played on each song, the year the song was recorded and the studio where it was recorded.
"Of all my musical memories I treasure the works of John Madara. He'll always be remembered. He's a very special guy." -- Dick Clark
"The name Johnny Madara may not be so familiar to many people. But when it comes to music, it is legendary. Here is a man, not only as a writer and producer, but also instrumental in the careers of Danny and The Juniors, Leon Huff, Hall & Oates, Len Barry, Lesley Gore, Chubby Checker, Maureen Gray, and untold others. He is one of the unsung heroes in the early days of rock and roll. Yet he has remained active through six decades in the music business. And then there's John as a singer. The works you are about to hear represent John as a performer. But more important, his vision and understanding of how important our music was, and being a part of an exciting new industry that we called rock and roll, is really what he is about. You'll find that in his songs. There are many facets to John Madara. This is just one of them." -- The Geator, Jerry Blavat
Johnny Madara grew up in Philadelphia at a time when rock and roll was starting to take root. In 1956, at 20 years old, he launched his solo career with his first record, "Be My Girl," which reached the National charts. The follow-up to "Be My Girl" was his next record, "Love Sick."
The same year, an event occurred in Southwest Philly that would have a profound impact on his life. One evening Johnny heard the compelling voices of some street corner singers as the drifted through his bedroom window. The group was called The Juvinaires, and was headed by David White. Dave and Johnny soon formed a partnership and little did they know, their lives would never be the same.
At the time, Johnny had a recording contract with Capitol Records. Johnny and Dave wrote a song called "Do The Bop." They went and recorded it with the B Side, "Sometimes," that was written by Dave. Johnny sang the lead and Dave's group sang the background. Capitol Records didn't like it. They didn't understand early rock and roll.
Johnny had sung several times on Bandstand, which was a local show out of Philadelphia. They took "Do The Bop" to host, Dick Clark, who had just gone National with American Bandstand. He really liked it, but The Bop was a dance that was on its way out and was really known mostly on the East Coast. Dick thought the record hops were really taking off and suggested that they change the name and the lyrics to reflect that. They followed Dick's advice. "Do The Bop" became "At The Hop." The lyrics were changed but the music was the same. They recorded "At The Hop" with Dave's renamed group, Danny and The Juniors. It was released on a small label, Singular Records, and ABC Records eventually acquired the master. The record started selling well in Philadelphia. By Christmas of 1957, "At The Hop" had reached the top of the charts worldwide and remained #1 for an astounding seven weeks, the first record ever to reach that success, and it has remained a rock and roll classic to this day.
Johnny continued to record songs as an artist, but he was having his real success producing and writing songs with Dave. Madara & White would go on to make some of the most successful songs during that era including "Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay" (Danny and The Juniors), "The Fly" (Chubby Checker, which Chubby is enjoying a resurgance with a dance version of the song),"1-2-3" (Len Barry, who co-wrote the song with Madara & White), and "You Don't Own Me" (Leslie Gore).
During that time John discovered Leon Huff playing piano with a group, The Lavenders. Leon was signed to an exclusive writer and producer's contract, and he wrote and played on many of the Madara & White records before he met and teamed up with Kenny Gamble. Gamble & Huff would become one of the most prolific songwriting teams in the history of Rock and Roll and helped create "The Sound of Philadelphia." Madara & White co-published many of their songs, including "Cowboys To Girls," "Together," "Western Union Man," "Only The Strong Survive" and "Never Gonna Give You Up," just to name a few.
In the mid-'60s, Johnny, Dave and Ray Gilmore wrote "The Dawn of Correction," an answer song to "The Eve Of Destruction," by Barry McGuire. They called themselves The Spokesmen. The song was very controversial. In some cases the group was not permitted to sing the song on the air and had to replace it with another. With Dick Clark's support, The Spokesmen were able to sing the song on American Bandstand. It reached top 20 on the charts and was a huge hit.
John also discovered Daryl Hall & John Oates, the most successful duo in the history of the music business. He produced two albums with them.
After John and Dave split up, John continued to write and produce movies and TV. including "Cinderella Liberty," and "The Sid and Marty Krofft Comedy Hour." He produced two albums with Wayne Newton, co-wrote the songs on the Ralph Bakshi animated film "Hey Good Lookin," and recently produced an album for Tony Danza, following a hugely successful radio hit single that he also produced, "The House I Live In."
Madara & White songs have reached millions of people through radio, films and TV. Worldwide sales have reached over 200 million records. Madara & White songs have appeared on some of the biggest soundtrack albums of all time, including "American Graffiti" and "Woodstock" (At The Hop), "Grease" (Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay), "Hairspray" (The Fly and You Don't Own Me) and "Dirty Dancing" and "The First Wives Club" (You Don't Own Me).
In March of 2001, "At The Hop" was voted one of the top 100 songs of the century by The Recording Industry Association Of America. The soundtrack album "Grease" was voted one of the top albums of the century.
Wolfman Jack's son recently found a handwritten list of his favorite top 10 songs. "At The Hop" was #1.
Madara & White have written three new songs which will be featured in their film "At The Hop," and a musical is being developed that would feature the songs of "Madara & White."
In October of 2013, John, along with partner Dave White, was inducted into the Philadelphia Walk of Fame by The Philadelphia Music Alliance.
"You Don't Own Me" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in October of 2017.
All songs on this CD have been digitally restored and digitally mastered. Make this historical CD a part of your oldies record collection!
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