Johnny Burnette: Age 30 | Cause Of Death: DROWNING

(b. 28 March 1934, Memphis, TN, d. 1 August 1964, CA)

Having attended the same high school as Elvis Presley, Johnny moved into the rockabilly genre by forming a trio with his brother Dorsey Burnette on string bass and school friend Paul Burlison on guitar. After touring with Carl Perkins and Gene Vincent, the trio underwent a change of personnel in November 1956 with the recruitment of drummer Tony Austin. That same month, the trio were featured in Alan Freed’s movie ROCK, ROCK, ROCK.  By the autumn of 1957, the trio had split and the Burnette brothers moved on to enjoy considerable success as songwriters.  After briefly working as a duo, the brothers parted for solo careers. Johnny proved an adept interpreter of teen ballads. Both Dreamin’ and You’re Sixteen were transatlantic Top 10 hits.  A series of lesser successes followed with Little Boy Sad, Big Big World, Girls and God, Country And My Baby. With his recording career in decline, Burnette formed his own label Magic Lamp in 1964.
In August that year, he accidentally fell from his boat during a fishing trip in Clear Lake, California and drowned. Among the family he left behind was his son Rocky Burnette, who would subsequently achieve recording success at the end of the ’70s.
~Music Central 96.