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Johnny Otis of 'Willie and the Hand Jive' dies
Johnny Otis, who recorded 1960s hit song 'Willie and the Hand Jive,' dies at 90
By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) ' Johnny Otis, who made the R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive" and evangelized black music to white audiences as a bandleader and radio host, has died in California at 90.

His manager, Terry Gould, says Otis died Tuesday at his home in Altadena.

Otis, who was white, grew up in a black section of Berkeley and adopted black culture as his own. He started his musical career as a drummer. By 1945, was a band leader and had a hit with "Harlem Nocturne."



Otis' 1958 recording of "Willie and the Hand Jive" sold more than 1.5 million copies.

He also wrote "Every Beat of My Heart," which was a hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips, and discovered such R&B artists such as Etta James and Big Mama Thornton.


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