Saturday, March 05, 2011

Johnny Preston, R. I. P.

Johnny Preston, 71, Singer of ‘Running Bear,’ Dies - "Johnny Preston, who had a No. 1 hit with the song “Running Bear” in 1960, died here on Friday. He was 71.

His death was confirmed by his son, Scott, who said Mr. Preston had bypass surgery late last year and suffered from lingering health problems.

Born Johnny Preston Courville in 1939, Mr. Preston spent most of his life in Port Arthur, Tex. He first performed in a group called the Shades at Lamar University, in Beaumont, in 1957 and was brought to the attention of Mercury Records by the disc jockey and singer J. P. Richardson, better known as the Big Bopper.

Mr. Richardson wrote “Running Bear,” which told the story of an ill-fated romance between Running Bear, an “Indian brave,” and Little White Dove, an “Indian maid.” It became a million-seller for Mr. Preston the year after Mr. Richardson died in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Mr. Preston’s follow-up single, “Cradle of Love,” reached No. 7 on the Billboard chart."


Doc Quatermass said...

Anonymous said...

I was just going to send that in.

The one thing about "Running Bear" (which I liked a lot as a kid) that was kind of stupid was this: they were Indians, right? Ever hear of a canoe?