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From the Land of Band Box Records

Billboard Magazine ran mini-biographies from 1959 into the early 1960’s sometimes providing us with interesting tidbits – Each biography was generally tied to a current release on behalf of the artist

Don & Juan (“What’s Your Name”)

Charted Number 7 Hot 100 – February, 1962

What do Don and Juan NOT have in common with Annette, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Connie Francis and Dickey Lee?

Unlike all of these musicians, Don and Juan did not place a recording on the R&B Charts!  Why?  Who knows?  But that aside, their hit recording of “What’s Your Name” is one of my all-time favorites – sweet and nostalgic…  A gem.

Bigtop Records had it’s share of R&B musicians (Sammy Turner, The Shades) but hung their hat more on the highly successful Del Shannon and for a time, Johnny and the Hurricanes.

The Biggest Top!

Claude “Juan” Johnson and Roland “Don” Trone met up in the Los Angeles area and Johnson was then a member of the “Genies”.  That group placed one single on the Hot 100 in 1959 – a modest chart position of number 71 – but again – a miss with the R&B crowd.  Like “What’s Your Name” I also loved “Who’s That Knocking” and remember rushing out to purchase it at the age of 13 while growing up in Denver.

Don and Juan

“What’s Your Name” was featured in the motion picture “It Came From Hollywood – a 1982 flick.  The song also made it into the “Doo Wop Hall of Fame”.  Johnson was a member of the mid 1960’s group called “The Delears” a group which also recorded as “The Mystics”. He was also in a group called “New York City” of “I’m Doin’ Fine Now” fame.

Another member of New York City was John Brown who had been with The Cadillacs, The Five Satins and The Moonglows!  Not bad..

The Genies – Knocking!

That song had a Motown-like bounce and the group placed five recordings on the Hot 100 and six on the R&B Charts.  The Johnson composition, “What’s Your Name” was recorded by Andy Williams, The Almost Brothers, David Newman and Ray Barbary and the Soul Machine to mention a few.  Johnson also penned “Who’s That Knocking”.

New York City – Doin’ Fine!

Dealers/Mystics

After the Twirl Records’ release in 1966, Don and Juan would only appear on reissues and oldies collections.

Trone died young – in 1982 at age 45 – Johnson passed away in 2002 at the age of 67.

Don and Juan Selected Discography

45 – The Genies – Shad 5002  – Who’s That Knocking – Number 71 Hot 100 b/w The First Time – February, 1959

45 – The Genies – Hollywood 69-1 – On The Edge Of Town b/w No More Knockin’ – June, 1959

45 – The Genies – Warwick 607 – Just Like The Bluebird b/w Twistin’ Penumonia – December, 1960

45 – The Genies – Warwick 643 – Crazy Feeling b/w Little Young Girl – April, 1961

45 – Bigtop 3079 – What’s Your Name – Number 7 Hot 100 – b/w Chicken Necks – July, 1961

45 – Bigtop 3106 – Two Fools Are We – Number 109 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Pot Luck – April, 1962

45 – Bigtop 3121 – Magic Wand – Number 91 Hot 100 b/w What I Really Meant To Say – September, 1962

45 – The Mystics King 5678 – Mash Potatoes With Me b/w The Hoppy Hop – September, 1962

45 – The Mystics – King 5735 – The Jumpin’ Bean b/w Just For Your Love (I Would Do Anything) – April, 1963

45 – Bigtop 3145 – True Love Never Runs Smooth b/w Is It All Right If I Love You? – April, 1963

(This was the Gene Pitney Hit which came out in 1962 on his LP)

45 – Mala 469 – Lonely Man b/w Could This Be Love – November, 1963

45 – Mala 479 – Pledging My Love b/w Molinda – June, 1964

45 – Mala 484 – Sincerely b/w Mary Ann Cherie – August, 1964

45 – Mala 494 – I Can’t Help Myself b/w All That’s Missing Is You – January, 1965

45 – Mala 509 – The Heartbreaking Truth b/w Thank Goodness – July, 1965

45 – Twirl 2021 – Because I Love You b/w Are You Putting Me On The Shelf – February, 1966

45 – The Dealers – Big Bunny 507 – You Got It b/w (We’re So) Glad That We Made It – March, 1966

45 – Claude Johnson – Pilot 300 – Devil’s Sweetheart b/w Heartache Street

45 – Claude Johnson – Victory 7201 – Judge, I’m Guilty b/w Unlucky Town

45 – Claude Johnnson – Philwood 201 – I Am Blue and Lonesome b/w Sitting Here Thinking

45 – New York City – Chelsea 113 – I’m Doin’ Fine Now – Number 17 Hot 100 – Number 14 R&B b/w Ain’t It So – February, 1973

45 – New York City – Chelsea 25 – Make Me Twice The Man – Number 93 Hot 100 – Number 44 R&B b/w Uncle James – July, 1973

45 – New York City – Chelsea 150 – Quick, Fast, In A Hurry – 79 Hot 100 – Number 19 R&B – November, 1973

45 – New York City – Chelsea 3000 – Happiness Is – Number 20 R&B – Number 116 Bubbling Under Charts – b/w Darling Take Me Back – July, 1974

45 – New York City – Chelsea 3008 – Love Is What You Make It – Number 41 R&B – Number 104 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Do You Remember Yesterday – November, 1974

45 – New York City – Chelsea 3010 – Got To Get You Back In My Life – Number 76 R&B – Number 105 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Reach Out – February, 1975

45 – New York City – Chelsea 3031 – Take My Hand b/w Can’t Survive Without My Sweets – October, 1975

LP – New York City – Chelsea 198 – I’m Doin’ Fine Now – Number 122 Hot 200 – June, 1973

LP – New York City – Chelsea 500 – Soulful Road – 1974

 

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