John Fred & His Playboy Band

John Fred (b. John Fred Gourrier, 8 May 1941, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, d. 15 April 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) was a 6 foot 5 inch, blue-eyed soul singer who originally formed John Fred And The Playboys in 1956. This unit made their first record (‘Shirley’) two years later with Fats Domino’s backing group. During the early 60s various versions of the Playboys recorded for small independent record labels such as Jewel and N-Joy, and eventually became known as John Fred And His Playboy Band. It was not until the end of 1967 that success finally came with the international hit, ‘Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)’. An amusing satire on the Beatles’ ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, the single beat off a rival version by Amboy Dukes. Unfortunately this meant the Playboy Band were unfairly perceived as a novelty group, when in fact they were a tight, well organized and long-serving unit. Fred’s blue-eyed soul vocals were most evident on Agnes English, which included a rasping version of ‘She Shot A Hole In My Soul’. By the end of the 60s the band had split-up, with Fred going on to record with a new group and work as a producer for RCS in Baton Rouge.

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