Marvin & Johnny

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Marvin & Johnny
General information
Genre (s) Rhythm and blues , doo-wop
founding 1953
resolution 2009
Founding members
Marvin Phillips
Carl Green
Last occupation
Marvin Phillips (1953-1962, 1993-2009)
Rip Spencer (1962-2009)
former members
Carl Green (1953)
Rufus Anderson (1955)
Vocals, saxophone
Emory Perry (1954-1956)
Willie Egan (1958)
Jesse Belvin (1954/55)

Marvin & Johnny were a doo-wop group from Los Angeles , California that had some rhythm and blues hits in the 1950s . While Marvin Phillips appeared largely constant as "Marvin", the line-up of "Johnny" changed.



Marvin Phillips and Emory Perry played the saxophone in the Richard Lewis Band around 1949 . Perry then moved to the first own band Marvins, which was released as "Marvin Phillips and his Men From Mars" on Specialty Records . Under the name Jesse & Marvin , a successful production with the prominent R&B singer and composer Jesse Belvin was created on the same label as Dream Girl . When Belvin was drafted into the army and Marvin's first attempts as a solo artist on Parrot and Swing Time Records were unsuccessful, Marvin looked for a new partner.

Marvin and various Johnnys

There are different details about the first, possibly named "Johnny". Steve Propes, who interviewed Marvin Philips, Emory Perry and Carl "Johnny" Green for his book on vocal groups in Los Angeles, reports that it was the latter who backed Marvin and with the Marsmen in 1953 for Specialty Records Baby Doll and I'm Not A Fool . With regard to the name of the duo, Philips stated that Marvin & Carl would probably have sounded “not particularly cool”. The discography collection Soulful Kinda Music, however, names Johnny Dean, Colin Larkin in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music already Emory "Johnny" Perry, who played in Marvin's band The Marsmen.

While the Dream Girl reached its highest position at number nine on the R&B charts in December , Marvin and Carl recorded four more tracks in Ted Brinson's studio, of which only Green's composition Flip was used for a later specialty edition. In January 1954 came the change to the longest-lived "Johnny" Emory Perry, whom Marvin called "my main Johnny" (English: my main Johnny ). Jo Jo / How Long Has She Ben Gone , School Of Love / Boy Loves Girl and Day In - Day Out were the specialty singles of 1954, while Carl Greens Flip was used for the back of Day In - Day Out .

Marvin & Johnny were inspired to Tick ​​Tock by this watch.

In 1954 the duo switched to the neighboring blues label Modern Records , where another chart success was achieved with Tick ​​Tock . The inspiration for the title came from driving past the clock tower of Los Angeles Union Station as the duo were on their way to Modern's new studio in Culver City . The B-side Cherry Pie remained the most popular due to its extensive radio presence. For more singles on Modern, the duo expanded their style elements to include doo-wop-typical humorous interludes similar to those of the Coasters and renewed Louis Jordan's classic rhythm and blues sound . Elsewhere, Johnny Dean is also given as "Johnny" for the Modern recordings.

From 1955, Emory Perry had to share the role of Johnnys with the discharged Jesse Belvin, who claimed the place at the side of his old duo partner from the time of Jesse & Marvin. So Jesse did not give the "Johnny" in live performances and then sang his popular hits on his own behalf. Ko-Ko-Mo , I Love You, Yes I Do and Sugar Mama were created in the studio with Belvin, while Emory Perry was responsible for the back covers Baby, Won't You Marry Me and Butterball . After a brief interlude at the old Specialty label with Mamo Mamo and Ding Dong Baby , Marvin signed a two-year contract with Modern because Art Rupe from Specialty did not advertise and support Ding Dong Baby sufficiently. Guitarist Rufus Thomas stepped in as Johnny for Will You Love Me . In September 1955, Marvin tried again as a solo artist under the stage name "Long Tall Marvin".

Since the success failed to materialize, Marvin switched to Aladdin Records - this time with "Johnny" Roy Richards from the Robins . Hey Chicken and Yeah Yeah (Yak Yak) were stronger numbers due to the renowned session band around guitarist Ernie Freeman , saxophonist Plas Johnson and drummer Earl Palmer . In 1958, the single Baby, Baby, Baby with Bye Bye My Baby was released on Rays Records . This time Willie Egan sang as "Johnny". Until 1965 recordings appeared on Aladdin Records , the modern sub-label Kent Records and the small record companies Firefly, Jamie Records , Swingin 'and Felsted with the participation of Willie Egans, Rufus Andersons and Bobby Sheens. The compilations of the work were also published in album format on Crown Records , another Modern subsidiary. Cherry Pie , the duo's signature tune, reached number 11 on the pop charts in a cover version of Skip & Flip in 1960 .

Rip Spencer as Marvin

In 1962, Marvin's nephew Sheridan "Rip" Spencer bought the band name of his uncle, who withdrew from the music business out of disappointment about not receiving royalties for his songs. For years Rip was a member of a doo-wop group that has been in the Los Angeles R&B scene under various names as The Sabers, The Chavelles, The Gents, The Valiants , The Untouchables, The Electras , The Alley Cats and The Happy Tones since 1955 was active. Rip took on the role of Marvin, as Johnny acted James Barker, Bobby Sheen, Don Julian, Ron Shy and again Johnny Starks. Without their own publications, the duo toured as part of an oldie show by promoter Wolfman Jack .

Comeback and end

In 1993, Marvin Phillips came back into show business at Rip Spencer's side as Marvin & Johnny. In 1999 Marvin & Johnny took part in the “Rhythm Riot” festival on the occasion of the 50th birthday of the doo-wop genre in London . On December 9, 2009, Rip Spencer was shot dead in Compton , California.


Chart positions
Explanation of the data
Baby doll
  R&BTemplate: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / country wrong 9 05.12.1953 (1 week)
Tick ​​Tock
  R&BTemplate: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / country wrong 9 September 18, 1954 (3 weeks)


  • 1953 - Baby Doll / I'm Not A Fool , Specialty 479 *
  • 1954 - Jo Jo / How Long Has She Ben Gone , Specialty 488 *
  • 1954 School Of Love / Boy Loves Girl , Specialty 498
  • 1954 - Day In - Day Out / Flip , Specialty 530 *
  • 1954 - Tick ​​Tock / Cherry Pie , Modern 933
  • 1954 - Sugar / Kiss Me , Modern 941
  • 1955 - Ding Dong Baby / Mamo Mamo , Specialty 554 *
  • 1955 - Little Honey / Honey Girl , Modern 946
  • 1955 - Ko Ko Mo / Sometimes I Wonder , Modern 946
  • 1955 - I Love You, Yes I Do / Baby Won't You Marry Ma , Modern 952
  • 1955 - Butler Ball / Sugar Mama , Modern 595
  • 1956 - Will You Love Me / Sweet Dreams , Modern 968
  • 1956 - Ain't That Right / Let Me Know , Modern 974
  • 1957 - Yeah Yeah (Yak Yak) / Pretty Eyes , Aladdin 3371
  • 1958 You're In My Heart / Smack Smack , Aladdin 3408
  • 1958 - Cherry Pie / Ain't That Right , Kent 303
  • 1958 - It's Christmas / The Valley Of Love , Aladdin 3439
  • 1958 - Baby, Baby, Baby / Bye Bye My Baby , Rays 34 (also dated 1954)
  • 1960 - Second Help Of Cherry Pie / Pretty One , Firefly 333
  • 1961 - Once Upon A Time / Tick ​​Tock , Jamie 1188
  • 1962 - I'm Tired Of Being Alone / Baby Don't You Know , Swingin '621
  • 1963 - Second Helping Of Cherry Pie / Pretty One , Swingin '645
  • 1963 - Hot Biscuits And Gravy / Tired Of Being Alone , Felsted 8681
  • 1965 - Baby You're The One / Dear One , Kent 436

(*) with the Marsmen


  • 1962 - Marvin And Johnny , Crown Clp-5281
  • 1963 - Isley Brothers / Marvin And Johnny , Crown Clp-5328

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c Richie Unterberger: Marvin & Johnny Biography. In: All Music Guide. Retrieved November 2, 2008 .
  2. a b c d e f Steve Propes, Galen Gart: LA R&B Vocal Groups 1945–1965 . 1st edition. Nickel Publications, Milford 2001, ISBN 0-936433-18-3 , pp. 107 f . (American English).
  3. a b c d e Bosko Asanovic: Marvin & Johnny. In: Soulful Kinda Music. Retrieved November 2, 2008 .
  4. ^ A b Colin Larkin: Marvin & Johnny Biography. (No longer available online.) In: Formerly in the original ; Retrieved November 2, 2008 (originally published in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music ).  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  5. a b Pete Hoppula: Marvin & Johnny. In: Wang Dang Dula! Retrieved November 2, 2008 .
  6. Jason Ankeny: Willie Egan Biography. In: All Music Guide. Retrieved November 5, 2008 .
  7. ^ A b Phil Johnson: Music: Together in perfect harmony. In: The Independent. November 26, 1999, accessed January 10, 2010 .
  8. ^ A b c Marv Goldberg: The Valiants. In: Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebook. 2002, accessed September 30, 2008 .
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn: Hot R&B Songs. Billboard 1942-2010 . 6th edition. Record Research Inc., Menomonee Falls 2010, ISBN 978-0-89820-186-4 , The Artist Section, pp. 427 (American English).