Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Johnny Otis, ‘Godfather of Rhythm and Blues,’ Dies at 90

Otis died Jan. 17th, 2012, at his home in Altadena, California.

Jan 16, 2012

Lipsitz_midnight coverOtis_listen coverElected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Johnny Otis is a celebrated American blues and R & B musician. He was a painter, sculptor, author, and, until recently, the host of the Johnny Otis Show. He is author of Listen to the Lambs and his biography, Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story, was written by George Lipsitz and published in 2010.

“Society wants to categorize everything, but to me it’s all African-American music,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1993. “The music isn’t just the notes, it’s the culture — the way Grandma cooked, the way Grandpa told stories, the way the kids walked and talked.”

Read his obituary in the New York Times; a very nice article about his life and legacy in The Atlantic; and a lovely tribute by his biographer, George Lipsitz, on the U of MN Press blog.

NPR also has a few nice segments here and here.