Johnny Maddox

I'm gonna to sing you a hundred verses in ragtime,
I know this song it aint never gonna end.
I'm gonna march you up and down along the county line,
Take you to the leader of a band.

Just like Crazy Otto, just like Wolfman Jack,
Sittin' plush with a royal flush, aces back to back.
- Excerpt from Ramble On Rose: The Grateful Dead



Johnny Maddox is one of the leading ragtime piano players of all time. He was already America's number one jukebox artist when in 1954 he recorded "The Crazy Otto Medley". It spent 14 weeks at the top of the charts, and became the first all-piano record in history to sell over 1,000,000 copies, eventually selling over 2,000,000.

Johnny Maddox was born on August 4, 1927 in Gallatin, Tennessee. His interest in the era of ragtime and blues was fueled by his Aunt Zula Cothron. She played ragtime piano at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, and taught Johnny to play. Johnny played his first public concert when he was only five. He began his professional career when he was 12 years old.

Johnny worked with his friend, Randy Wood, at Randy's Record Shop in Gallatin when Randy launched Dot Records in 1950. In fact, Johnny was the first artist of Dot Records, and his instant success helped build Dot into one of the most successful labels in the 50's. His very first single "Crazy Bone Rag" with "St. Louis Tickle" on the flip side sold over 22,000 copies in 5 weeks. He continued to record for Dot through their acquisition by MCA into the 1970's. During his career with Dot and MCA, Johnny recorded 50 albums and around 90 singles. From these he racked up 9 gold singles with total record sales of over 11,000,000. Johnny even has his own star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Johnny knew and played with many of the leading ragtime artists as well as many of the major artists of the 50's including: Patsy Cline, Eddie Arnold, W. C. Handy, Joe Jordan, Charles L. Johnson, Clyde McCoy, Ted Lewis, Tony Pastor, Lawrence Welk, Sammy Kay and Eddy Howard. Johnny has played in every state except Oregon and Hawaii. He has played Las Vegas and appeared on countless shows including the Milton Berle show.

W. C. Handy called Johnny Maddox "the white boy with the colored fingers" after hearing him play in 1952. Johnny plays his music in the original dance tempos. His immediately recognizable, rollicking style, brings so vividly to life the era of ragtime and blues.

Johnny is a noted musicologist and collector of ragtime and early American music. His collection includes over 30,000 78rpm records, Edison wax cylinders and piano rolls. His sheet music collection is conservatively estimated at 200,000 pieces, 3,000 of which he knows by heart.

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Write to Johnny Maddox!
Send mail to:
2231 Hartsville Pike
Gallatin, TN 37066

 

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