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John Platania

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Biography

b. c. 1948, Ulster County, New York, USA. Raised in a rural part of New York state, Platania studied piano at a local school before taking up the guitar, in part prompted by the appeal of Elvis Presley’s records and in particular the playing thereon of Scotty Moore. He was influenced by pop, rock, country, blues and jazz guitarists, including Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Bryant, Hank Garland, Buddy Holly and Wes Montgomery. In 1967, Platania joined Silver Bike, with whom he recorded for Bang Records. The material went unreleased but word spread and soon he was active as a New York studio musician. Heard by Van Morrison, he played with him for the first half of the 70s, appearing on classic releases such as Moondance and It’s Too Late To Stop Now, and later at 1980’s Montreux Jazz Festival. Among other artists with whom Platania played, on tour and record, were John Cale, Judy Collins, Don McLean (‘American Pie’, ‘Vincent’ and ‘Crying’), Randy Newman (on Good Old Boys), Bonnie Raitt, Mort Shuman and James Taylor. He also had a long and fruitful musical collaboration with Chip Taylor, the pair working together both as composers and performers and Platania appeared on Taylor’s 1971 album, Gasoline, and 1973’s Chip Taylor’s Last Chance. In 1976 in Los Angeles, Platania formed a band, the short-lived Giants, with Ron Elliott, Bruce Gary and Karl Rucker, but the unit only released one album. In 1983 Platania worked on the Emmy Award-winning revue, None For The Road. Other music for the theatre included The Life And Times Of Harriet Taubman, which was staged by Sail Productions. On television he arranged music for and helped produce Whoopi’s Littleburg, a Whoopi Goldberg show for children. Platania has also produced albums for musicians such as Guy Davis (Butt Naked Free), Lisa McCormick (Sacred), and Stephanie Corby (Fireworks). In the late 90s, Platania collaborated with songwriter Elwood H. Smith, singing his songs on the 2002 solo release Lucky Dog. He also toured with Natalie Merchant and resumed his collaboration with Chip Taylor. Musicians who appeared as guests on Platania’s second solo album, 2007’s Blues, Waltzes And Badland Borders, included Alejandro Escovedo and Lucinda Williams. In 2006 Platania was again working with Morrison on hisPay The Devil world tour.

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Born:

1948 in Ulster County, NY

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