The Johnny Winter Story

Johnny Winter from 1944 till 1968

Johnny Winter from 1944 till 1968

Born Beaumont (not Leland) Mississippi. Texas , Wednesday 23 Feb 1944.



Johnny and Edgar Winter in their childhood

Johnny and Edgar Winter in their childhood
Johnny and Edgar Winter in their childhood

Johnny Winter in 1959

In 1959 the Winter brothers travel to New York to audition for Ted Mack's "Original Amateur Hour." Soon thereafter, they receive their first taste of rock 'n' roll.

Recorded "Ice Cube" This one of the very earliest recordings made in 1959. Recorded at Gulf Coast Studios, Beaumont, Texas.

Johnny Winter Macaroni and the Jammers Canute Poulson, Melvin Carpenter, Richard Griffen and Edgar Winter

Johnny Winter has his first band: "Johnny (Macaroni) and The Jammers" (aka Johnny Winter's Orchestra).

Johnny Winter and the Jammers

Somewhere in the late fifties, Johnny also played in the band of Burl Boykin, called: The Rockin' Rebels.



Johnny Winter in 1960


Johnny Macaroni and the Jammers record School Day Blues on the Dart Label.

Independent Teen Times - October 1960

Johnny Winter and the Jammers


Johnny Winter in 1961


Photos from Johnny Winter's 1961 Yearbook
Johnny Winter Yearbook 1961 Johnny Winter in the 60's


Johnny Winter in 1962

One nite, late '62, he went to see B.B. King, who was playing in the Beaumont club called "The Raven". Johnny, Edgar, Ikey and Robert Reeder were the only white guys among 1500 fans of the great bluesman, anxious to play with him. Bobby drank more and more and and he asked the king if Johnny could play with them., and he replied cautiously "Can I see a Union Card?" Johnny whiped it out and B.B. King most surprised said: "Well, I don't know , I don't you know our songs?", Johnny replied: "Man, I know ALL your songs!" And suddenly three hundred black people started yelling "BB Let him play with you". So the King agreed and Johnny Winter made the audience flip out.

Article by: Lee Ashworth titled: "A local boy who made good.. The Boy TO Watch.

Tuesday 29 May 1962: The Johnny Winter Orchestra performs at the Beaumont Country Club for the Saint Anne's 1962 Graduation Class

Photo of the original invitation to the Graduation Class
Johnny Winter's Orchestra Graduation Dance, Beaumont Country Club 



Johnny Winter in 1963

New Years Eve 1963/64

Johnny Winter at the King Edward Hotel in Beaumont, Texas.

Johnny Winter, Normanam Samaha, Robert Reeder, Edgar Winter, Isaac Payton Sweat, Johnny Winter and the Beaumonts People from left to right are: Johnny Winter, Norman Samaha, Robert (Bobby) Reeder, Edgar Winter, and Ikey Sweaton bass. The band name was most likely: "The Gents" or "Johnny Winter and the Beaumonts"

Recorded "Eternally" and "You'll be the death of mine" on Atlantic Records

Johnny Winter in 1964

In 1964 Johnny WInter has the bands: "It and Them" , Johnny Winter and the Black Plague.

Toured the south with the Crystalliers.

Johnny and Edgar Winter around 1964

Saturday 25 July 1964: Galveston News Tribune.

Headline: Area Bands To Play in Texas City

Youth work projects of the Texas City Noon Optimist Club will benefit from proceeds of the "Mid - Summer Spectacular" show of area recording gmups Aug. 3 at Robinson Municipal Stadium in Texas City.

SHOW TIME will be at 7 p.m., but doors will open at 6 p.m. Admission is $1 and seats will not be reserved a spokesman for the sponsoring Noon Optimist club said.

Headling the show bands will be the "Raiders of Freeport" who recorded "Stick Shift", "Motivation" and their new release "Raising Cane"- Appearing with the Raiders will be vocalist Bobby Reed, singing his new record "Girl of my Dreams" and Lonnie Robers performing his country western song, "Rugged but Right".

Also appearing will be the originals with their latest recording "Scattershot" and the Moore Twins singing their release of "Rosemary"

JOHNNY WINTER of Beaumont will sing his new record "Eternity" and La Marquee will be represented by the Surfs. and the Crosswords.

Appearing from Texas City will be "D and the Domino's", the Detours, the Highliners and the Jesters, The Tempests, Galveston group which has the record "Girl in Pink Chiffon" also will appear on the program

Jerry DeCre and disc jockeys from Station KILE will emcees for the program

Friday 31 July 1964 The Galveston News

A small advertisement of "The Texas Optimist Club" and KILE RADIO Presents MID-SUMMER SPECTACULAR

Robinson Stadium. Texas City, Mom. 3 Aug 1964 Donation 1$ Per Person , The Raiders , The Originals D & The Dominoes , The Highlinger , The Jesters ,- The Surfs ,The Crestwoods ,* The Tempests

Big Band from San Antonio with Johnny Winter, Bobby Reed, Mike Byron, Freddie Amburn, Johnny Lee and many othersWaller Crane , Johnny Winter , Bobby Reed , The Moore Twins , Mike Byron , Freddie Amburn , Lonnie Roberta , Garcia Bynum , Hunter Lowry , Mc Jerry Deore , DJ Dan Lanahin , DJ Jack Frost , DJ Bill Atkins (KTSASanAntonio) , Johnny Lee

Monday 3 August 1964 The Galveston News

Re-issue of the same advertisement as Friday 31 July


Tuesday 29 December 1964, Wednesday 30 December The Galveston News

An advertisement for the New Years Eve DANCE at Galveston Ball Room with Johnny Winter and Band from New Orleans


Johnny Winter in 1965

A Vintage photo of Johnny and Edgar Winter around 1965

Gone for Bad, release by Frolic/MGM Records

The single "Gone for Bad" is one of the spotlight winners of the week, in Billnoard 15 May 1965. Recorded 1965 Gulf Coast Studios, Beaumont Texas. Issued at the time on 45 by MGM.

On 24 July 1965, Billboard Magazine published an article that the masters of this record were sold to MGM. This article was called "MGM Buy Masters"


Two masters have been purchased by MGM's new branch chief here, Jim Vienneau. The disks are "Keep On Dancing" by "The Gentry's" and "Gone for Bad" by Johnny Winter. With the addition of Vienneau as an executive able to bid on masters, competition for country disks stands to become even more aggressive.  

On 21 August 1965 An advertisement in Billboard Magazine called "Still Looking, Glass? MGM's On Fire " to promote the following recordings: Roundabout Connie Francis MGM K-13389, Gone For Bad Johnny Winter MGM K-13380 , I'm Henry VIII, I Am Danny Davis And The Nashville Strings MGM K-13374, The Silence Roy Etzel MGM K-13381 , You're My Baby The Vacels Kama Sutra KA-200 , Stay Away From My Baby The Tulips MGM K-13375

1965 08 21 5867 JWS Billboard Magazine


Johnny Winter plays lead guitar for: The Great Believers playing Tuesdays, and Thurs thru Sat in a club called the "Act III Club"

Originally known as Amos Boynton and The ABCs this Houston-based quartet (The Great Believers) was an early outing for the Winter Brothers who had previously played together in Black Plague. The recorded the single: Comin' Up Fast (Part 1)/(Part 2)(Cascade 365)

The Great Believers also recorded another Johnny Winter composition, Easy Lovin' Girl, backing Roy Head.

Compilation appearances include: Comin' Up Fast (Part 1) on Mindrocker, Vol. 4 (LP) and Acid Visions (LP); Comin' Up Fast (Part 1) and Easy Lovin' Girl on Acid Visions - The Complete Collection Vol. 1 (3-CD).

The Great Believers band members were:

  • AMOS BOYNTON - Drums
  • EDGAR WINTER - Keyboards
  • JOHNNY WINTER - Guitar, Vocals

Mike Bloomfield in actionJammed with: Mike Bloomfield at his Fickle Pickle coffeehouse, Barry Goldberg, B.B. King.




Johnny Winter in 1966

On Sunday's Johnny Winter performed at the Colosseum (source: Port Arthur News February 1966)

During March 1966 Johnny Winter played with his band "The Black Plague" and Bobby Wheeler

Saturday 12 March 1966 The Port Arthur News

An announcement: Direct from Whiskey a Go-Go JOHNNY WINTER and the Black Plagues featuring Bobby Wheeler "Teardrops on your letter" with a special Floor Show Live Go-Go girls: BLACK CAT


On Sunday, 10 August 1966 signs a contract with Clarity Music Company (Roy C. Ames) to record the song: TOWN CRIER . The song "Town Crier" was never recorded by Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter Clarity Music Town Crier
Johnny Winter Clarity Music Town Crier 
Johnny Winter Clarity Music Town Crier 

Johnny WInter Plays lead guitar for: Insight



Johnny Winter in 1967

After touring the Southwest for 2-3 years, returned to 1967 and became the house band at the Act III Club.

Recorded "Take My Choice" wit local (Houston) bluesman Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson.

Recorded "Coming Up Fast" 1967 Pasadena Sound Studios. A short version edited down to less than three minutes, was released at the on the Cascade label, only a few hundred 45s were pressed, which are today much sought after collector's items.

Recorded "Living In The Blues" and "Birds Can't Row Boats " 1967 Andros Studios Houston, first released 1969.

January 1967 recorded "I Wonder If I Care" Pasadena Sounds studios, Pasadena Texas, released on album 1969.

2 February 1967 Recorded "Don't drink Whiskey" Recording Service Studios, Pasadena Texas.

For a short period band leader of "The Traits" and released the single: Tramp. Most likely he performed on "Tramp" which was recorded during the brief period in 1967 when Johnny Winter was the leader of "The Traits" and it was released under the group name, in a pressing of 300 45s on the Universal label.

Vulcan Gas Company 1968

Johnny Winter in 1968

10 January 1968 records "Suicide Won't Satisfy", "Blue Suede Shoes" , "I Wonder If I Care" at Andros Studios, Houston.

19 January 1968 recorded "Going Down Slow" Andros Studios, Houston

In 1968 Johnny Winter records "Birds cant row boats" on the Pacemaker label

In April 1968, Johnny Winter began playing in a trio with bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner. Their shows at Austin's Vulcan Gas Company and Houston's Love Street Light Circus.

In July 1968 stars playing almost every month at VGC (Vulcan Gas Company) . These shows of Johnny Winter at the Vulcan Gas Company, attracted the attention of a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, who had been writing an article about the Texas hippie scene. The author devoted three paragraphs to Johnny, whom he referred to as "the hottest item outside of Janis Joplin". The article brought nation wide attention to the album "The Progressive Blues Experiment", a collection of songs that Johnny's trio had recorded live at the Vulcan Gas Company, which was quickly picked up for national release by Imperial.

Rolling Stone Magazine 1968

"Texas" (feature article on the Texas music scene featuring Johnny, [w/pic of him],

Concert-dates of Johnny Winter at the Vulcan Gas Company in 1968 include

5 and 6 July 1968 Johnny Winter at the Vulcan Gas Company, Bubble Puppy

Notes: Bubble Puppy (also known as The Bubble Puppy) is an American psychedelic rock band originally active from 1967 to 1970. They are best remembered for their Top 20 hit, "Hot Smoke & Sasafrass".

concert poster Johnny Winter at the Vulcan Gas Company, Bubble Puppy

7 July 1968 Conqueroo / Johnny Winter / Shiva's Head Band

Notes: The Conqueroo were an American psychedelic-garage group, based in Austin, TX. They were active from 1965-70.

The Conqueroo line-up consisted of: Charlie Prichard (lead guitar and vocals), Ed Guinn (bass, keyboards, woodwind, vocals), Tom Bright (drums), Bob Brown ( (rhythm guitar and vocals).

Notes: Shiva's Headband (or Shiva's Head Band), an early Texas psychedelic rock band, formed in Austin in 1967. Original members included fiddler Spencer Perskin and his wife Susan, keyboardist Shawn Siegel, guitarists Kenny Parker and Bob Tom Reed and drummer Jerry Barnett. The group was the house band at the Vulcan Gas Company, a late 1960s Austin nightclub.


2 and 3 August 1968 Muddy Waters / Johnny Winter

Notes: McKinley Morganfield better known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues".

A Photo of Tommy Shannon, "Uncle" John Turner and Johnny Winter on 13 August 1968



16 August 1968 Johnny Winter / New Atlantis / Zackary Thacks / 1948

Notes: The Zakary Thaks were an American garage rock band from Corpus Christi, Texas, United States, which formed in the mid-1960s.

Blues Unlimited Sep 1968

Blues Unlimited, Sept 1968 Page .24 article by Mike Ledbitter


20 & 21 September 1968 Johnny Winter / Endel St. Cloud


10, 11, 12 October 1968 New Atlantis / Johnny Winter


Sunday 13 October 1968 Theater For The Performing Arts, Hemisfair Arena, San Antonio, TX Steppenwolf / Johnny Winter / New Atlantis with Giant Light Show

Notes: Steppenwolf is a Canadian rock band that was prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in late 1967 in Toronto by lead singer John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton.

  17 , 18, 19 October 1968 Shiva's Head Band / Johnny Winter  

8-16 November 1968, Vulcan Gas Company. Steve Miller Band, Johnny Winter, Freddie King. Poster called "Downtown Tubes" designed by Texan Artist: Jim Franklin

 Downtown Tubes

21 November 1968 Theater For The Performing Arts, Hemisfair Arena, San Antonio, TX Janis Joplin with Big Brother and The Holding Company / Johnny Winter / Shiva's Headband


20, 21 December 1968 Johnny Winter / New Atlantis

Friday 13 December 1968 - Johnny Winter arrives in New York.

Saturday 14 December 1968 - Johnny WInter jams Mike Bloomfield, Sam and Dave

SOUL TEAM PLAYS `SOUTH OF BORDER' Sam and Dave Give Concert at the Fillmore East By MIKE JAHN Sam and Dave, the popular soul team, have one of the most carefully staged acts in popular music. They, made a rare south-of-the-border (below 110th Street) appearance Friday and Saturday at the Fillmore East, 105 Second Avenue at Sixth Street. The concerts were the first by a hard soul act to be presented at the Fillmore. The main theater for soul groups is the Apollo, at 253 West 125th Street. With the exception of occasional Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden appearances, soul perform ers rarely are seen downtown.

Sam and Dave were backed by 11 musicians: four saxophones, bass, guitar, trumpet, trombone, two drummers and an organist. All of the musicians displayed elaborate footwork as they played. They stepped back and forth and from side to side, swinging their instruments it unison. There was even a go-gc dancer, with blue costume and white fringe. She appeared for two songs. Sam and Dave sang their hits, including "Hold On, I'm Comin' " and "Soul Man," and they sang "Satisfaction," by the Rolling Stones, which may well be the major rock song of the 1960's. They also did a very good version of "I've Been Loving You Too Long," an Otis Redding song that seems almost obligatory in soul concerts.

Sam Moore and Dave Prater sing crisp tight phrases, with free-swinging soul. The six horns combined to provide them with a firm background of simple riffs, repeated over and over. Their act is limber, powerful and effective. At the Fillmore this weekend Sam and Dave appeared with Earth Opera and the Supersession Band, with Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Al Kooper on organ. They were joined for the second set Saturday by Johnny Winters, a blues guitarist. Mr. Winters, a 23-year-old albino, is one of the finest blues musicians ever to appear on the Fillmore stage.

31 December 1968 Shiva's Head Band / Johnny Winter




7 December 1968 "Discovered" by Rolling Stone's Larry Sepuvaldo. Who wrote in a Rolling Stone issue: "...a hundred-and-thirty pound crosseyed albino with long fleecy hair, playing some of the gutsiest fluid blues guitar you have ever heard-

  • Winter meets Jimi Hendrix at "The Scene" club (46th Street and Eighth Avenue) in New York. In an interview with Univibes Johnny Winter describes Jimi Hendrix
  • Friday, 13 December 1968: Fillmore East - Johnny Winter's first major appearence, welcomed on stage by Michael Bloomfield. This concert is partially available on the album: Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, Fillmore East, The Lost Concert Tapes 13 Dec 1968.
  • Shady Grove in Maryland in 1968
  • Friday, 20 December 1968 and Saturday 21 Dec 1968 Johnny Winter and New Atlantis at the Vulcan Gas Co.

    Johnny Winter and the New Atlantis at the Vulcan Gas Co

  • Summer of 1968 - In the summer of 1968, John Sinclair and the MCS put on something called the Motor City Rock Festival- a ton of bands and three headliners over two nights: The Five, Sun Ra and Johnny Winter. Sunburned and ornery as only a teenage purist can be, I wanted to skip Winters's set. He'd been hyped in Rolling Stone as an albino celebrigeek, and I figured any guitar player noted for the paleness of his complexion could not be worth much. My girlfriend, who'd already seen Johnny, told me that if we stayed, I'd love him. I listened to her, and then I listened to him, and felt that love. What Johnny did that night was one of the most indelible blues or rock show I've ever seen, white hot music under cool blue spots. As Johnny roared through his Muddy Waters gone to Texas show, he got off what are still some of the most stinging slide riffs ever played in my presence. And though he may have slowed the pace a time or two, the band never stopped rockin'. Not for a minute.

    Like so many of the greatest players of the Sixties (Dylan, Hendrex, Bloomfield, Clapton), Johnny Winter did not make much distinction between the blues and rock 'n' roll. That's why what you get here is as much classic rock--including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Good" and perhaps the best version of Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" ever put on tape--as classic blues. What makes these records blues are the long, elastic lines Winter's guitar strings out, the undercurrent of sadness that balances the exuberance, the structure and the origin of some of the songs ("Messin' With The Kid" from Junior Wells, "Rollin' And Tumblin" from Muddy Waters , "Rock Me Baby" from B. B. King); what makes them rock is the relentlessly attacking sheets of notes, the sheer physical exuberance that Johnny pours into the music, the refusal to bend to the pain they express and the sheer pace and force, which don't lift for a second, even on tracks as downhearted as "Too Much Seconal".

    All blues musicians are essentially artists in pursuit of some fundamental truths about themselves and the people around them--about the human condition as they have known it. The music is about exploring as deep inside yourself as you can stand to go, and learning how you're connected to everyone you've ever encountered; about individual expression standing on the shoulders of all that has come before it. For Johnny Winter, that has been a lifelong task, from his first bands in Texas to the big-time rock 'n' roll career he had when he made the first of these records, to his great work with Muddy Watersand his departure for a territory that still engages him, out there on the road somewhere, maybe in your vicinity as this new collection spins. He is a true bluesman.

    But he has also never lost his rock 'n' roll heart: For Johnny, that great Chuck Berry story about the country boy who carried his guitar in a gunny sack and strummed to the rhythm of the locomotive wheels is his own story. Yet, what called to him was finally not just his name in lights but the far more enduring sound of the blues itself. No matter what anyone imagines, he's the real thing, and as such must be heard to be believed and understood. The grace note is this: Everyone who listens up is amply rewarded. As a scoffing skeptic who became a fan, I'm living proof. Dave Marsh May 1997

Johnny Winter in 1969

 1969 was such an exciting year with so many pop festivals and other music events that a entire page is dedicated to Johnny Winter in 1969

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Last Modified: 12-Aug-2017 16:35