Sunday, June 22, 2014
Johnny Mann and his vocal group The Johnny Mann Singers were involved in several classic rock 'n' roll and rockabilly recording sessions for Johnny Burnette (including "God, Country and My Baby"), The Crickets and several 1957-1958 sessions with Eddie Cochran, who was also signed to Liberty Records in Hollywood. As bandleader with the Johnny Mann Singers, the group recorded approximately three dozen albums, hosted the TV series titled Stand Up and Cheer (1971–1974), and was the musical director for The Joey Bishop Show. He was also musical director of The Alvin Show, and was the voice of Theodore. Mann was also choral director for the NBC Comedy Hour.
The Johnny Mann Singers' cover version of "Up, Up and Away", rather than the original by The 5th Dimension, became the hit version of the song in the UK Singles Chart. The version also won a Grammy Award in 1968 in the Best Performance by a Choir of Seven or More Persons category. In total, Mann has been nominated for five Grammys, two of which he won.
Mann wrote a number of radio jingles, the most famous being Los Angeles station 93 KHJ as well as the "Sound of the City" jingle for KSFO in San Francisco, California. This jingle became as requested as many of the songs played by KSFO in the era of Don Sherwood, and it was adapted by Mann for other radio stations around the country which included KFRC (AM) in San Francisco and CKLW in Windsor, Ontario.
The Johnny Mann Singers still record jingles for radio stations today, done in the Bill Drake style of the 1960s and 1970s Top 40 era. Mann is credited as "Johnnie Mann" in some of his earlier works. The group's most notable alumna is Vicki Lawrence.
In 1998, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
In 2010, Mann was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Anderson University in Anderson, SC. In April 2014 at the age of 85, he was a guest conductor of The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University's spring gala where he led the university choir in performing the Johnny Mann Singers arrangement of "Up, Up and Away". At the song's conclusion, the audience of about 1,000 stood in Mann's honor.
On June 18, 2014, Johnny Mann died at his home in Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted by Michael Godin at 8:28 AM