At the end of the 50’s, the instrumental Rock & Roll was gaining strength, one of the most representative groups of this style were Johnny & The Hurricanes, which in 1959 with their song “Red River Rock” reached the fifth position of the Hot 100 and R&B Singles. The song sold more than a million copies and reached number 3 in Great Britain. Between 1959 and 1961 the band placed nine singles on the Hot 100, something that was previously unthinkable for an instrumental group.
In 1961 Johnny & The Hurricanes were at the top of the charts, just at that moment, The Hurricanes, fed up with Johnny’s inordinate ego, decided to leave the group. The four original members of Johnny & The Hurricanes left Johnny alone, who quickly reformed the band in order to continue his successful career. Paul Tesluk (organ), Dave Yorko (guitar), Butch Mattice (bass), and Lynn Bruce (drums) recruited saxophonist Mike Murdza, and back in their hometown of Toledo in Detroit, they dedicated themselves to performing in some clubs in the city under the name of The Hurricanes, until a few weeks after performing there they received a letter, in which it is recommended not to continue using the name of The Hurricanes, or they would be reported. The ex-Hurricanes decided to change their name to The Fascinators, sometimes they also called themselves Paul & The Fascinators, since the members of the group considered Paul Tesluk the leader of the formation. Paul bought a new double pedal Hammond organ, they played new songs and some of the hits they recorded like The Hurricanes. Four of these new songs were released in 1962, as two singles for the Trans Atlas label. The songs worked very well at the local level, but when they tried to promote them outside their area they met with the rejection and indifference of the DJs from the rest of the country, a fact quite mysterious and strange, given the solvency of the musicians and the quality of the themes.
The Fascinators decided to dedicate all their efforts to live concerts, and put the recordings aside. In the field of live performances, things worked wonderfully, in 1963 they performed at the prestigious Peppermint Lounge in Miami Beach, there they were the backing band of The Drifters, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty and Steve Alaimo, they also appeared on the show by Dick Clark, where they accompanied Bobby Vee, Clide McPhatter, The Four Seasons and Gary US Bond. In 1964 Paul accepted a long tour of the east coast of the USA, at that time Dave decided to leave the band and accepted a stable job in Toledo. Dave Yoko was replaced by JJ. Reihart, as a guitarist. Shortly after Lynn Bruce also decided to leave the group, he was newly married and wanted to spend more time with his family. Despite the changes in line-up, the band continued to be in active, with the incombustible Paul as the leader. At the end of the 60’s they came to play at the prestigious Copacabana club in New York. The legacy of these musicians does not end here, guitarist Dave Yorko, who had left the band in 1964 for a more stable job in his city, used his free time in a small studio in his city, there he became friends with a local group called Johnny Gibson Trio, with whom he recorded a single, under the name Dave & The Orbits published by the American Arts label, curiously, The Orbits was the name that Johnny & The Hurricanes had before they rose to fame. The group did not record anything else, despite the fact that the two songs are great, it was just fun with which they earned a few extra dollars performing in a nightclub in their city. Dave continued to play with other local bands, but not in a professional way. On the other hand, Johnny continued his musical career, as Johnny & The Hurricanes, becoming very popular in Europe. They performed with great success at the Hamburg Star-Club where a very young Beatles were their opening act. The group had a multitude of formations, but always with excellent musicians, and they did not stop recording until 1987. From 1987 to 2006, the year Johnny passed away, the group performed sporadically in the USA and Europe. Johnny explained in an interview that 300 musicians passed through the group between the 1950s and 2005.
Juanmy “The Hunter”