Johnny Otis (original name Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes; December 28, 1921 – January 17, 2012) was an American musician, singer, musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, disc jockey, television host, record producer, journalist, and impresario. He was well known as songwriter of the song "Willie and the Hand Jive" that was recorded by many artists. Eric Clapton had a big hit with it.
He was also a talent scout and discovered numerous artists early in their careers who went on to become highly successful including Little Esther Phillips, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Ace, Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard, and The Robins (who eventually changed their name to The Coasters), among many others. Otis became widely known as the original "King of Rock and Roll” and the "Godfather of Rhythm and Blues. He toured with his band and played at various festivals around the world with his Johnny Otis Show featuring a mini history of African American music in a variety of well known R&B songs.
This great concert features a mix of many jazz, R&B, blues and rock ‘n roll standards that brought the entire audience to their feet. The concert included two encores. It was recorded by AVRO TV at he North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague, The Netherland on 14 July, 1985.
Otis was born and raised in Berkeley, California. Of Greek heritage, he was accepted into the Black music world because of his talent and expertise and respect for the African-American origins of the music. He is one of the originators of the Oaktown Sound.