Well, it’s hot and steamy and too expensive to play golf on the holiday, so I better get to writin’.
…I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Royals’ pitcher Johnny Cueto, who has been an unmitigated disaster in his last three starts. It’s beginning to look like trading away three top pitching prospects to “rent” him for a few months, until he becomes a free agent next year, could be one of the worst trades the Royals have made in a long time.
Before we go any farther, let me assure you I’m not going to write an entire column about Johnny Cueto; he’s just my lead-in.
A few days ago, while thinking about a possible nickname for him (besides “Ace,” which he’s definitely not looking like) the name The Fantastic Johnny C popped into my head.
That was appropriate and kind of catchy, I thought. Rock’n’Roll seepage then set in, and I thought I recalled a person who really went by the name The Fantastic Johnny C. Then it came to me: the real Fantastic Johnny C was the guy who had a smash hit with the song “Boogaloo Down Broadway” in 1967.
I then jumped on YouTube and listened to it five or 10 times.
While Johnny C wasn’t technically a one-hit-wonder, he didn’t make much of a mark with any other song.
According to the website http://www.allmusic.com, he was born Johnny Corley, in 1943, in Greenwood, SC.
The allmusic.com bio continues…
“He joined the armed services at an early age, leaving Brewer High in Greenwood before graduating to enlist. When his military duty ended, he moved to Norristown, PA, a small city 18 miles from Philadelphia, and found work as a heavy-equipment operator while becoming increasingly unable to resist the temptation to sing professionally. R&B producer Jesse James attended the same church as Corley and quickly spotted his talent. James made a career out of transforming gospel singers into secular performers; he discovered Cliff “the Horse” Nobles a short time later at the same church.
“James became Corley’s manager and wrote songs for him — one of them, ‘Boogaloo Down Broadway,’ convinced Corley to give pop music a serious try. ‘Broadway’ became a big hit, hitting number five on the R&B charts and number seven on the pop charts. The follow-up, ‘Got What You Need,’ didn’t surpass or equal ‘Broadway,’ but it did chart, while ‘Hitch It to the Horse’ bounced onto the R&B charts and even crept into the pop Top 40, in 1968.”
It was Jesse James who came up with the name by which Johnny Corley would henceforth be known. Johnny released only one album and, besides “Broadway,” it contained some covers, including “Barefootin” and “Land of 1000 Dances.”
Allmusic.com says that after his big hit, Johnny C set his sights on becoming “the number one soul brother.”
But like a lot of other artists who nurtured visions of long-term stardom after having a Top 40 hit, his star faded. The website http://www.waybackattack.com says that after 1970 Johnny C “resumed life as he’d previously known it except for the occasional return to performance glory.”
…I hope the arc of Johnny Cueto’s star doesn’t descend has quickly as that of the one, true Fantastic Johnny C, even though I’ve got a bad feeling about Cueto.
But let’s not dwell on the negative on this Labor Day 2015. Let’s drift back to the 60s and focus, for a few minutes, on a truly great song.
So get your partner, get in line,
We’re gonna have ourselves a heck of a time.
Baby, oh baby, Boogaloo down Broadway…