The saga of how Alan Freed discovered rock and roll. The new musical sounds are traced back to their roots in jazz, blues and gospel. Appearances by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Lymon, Lionel Hampton.
Pete Porter and Honey Wynn become overnight sensations as a romantic singing duo. But what will become of their budding love affair when their feuding, back-stabbing managers persuade them ... See full summary »
A frustrated big-band promoter runs in to rock-and-rollers Bill Haley and the Comets at a small-town dance. He quickly becomes their manager and, with the help of Alan Freed, hopes to bring... See full summary »
Fred F. Sears
Bill Haley and the Comets,
Ernie Freeman Combo
A railroad official, Owen Legate comes to Dodson, Mississippi to shut down much of the town's railway (town's main income). Owen unexpectedly finds love with Dodson's flirt and main ... See full summary »
Sisters Jane and Penny are arrested for hitchhiking on their way to Los Angeles when they stop for a quick skinny-dip in a rural town. Local agricultural magnate Tropp is a sponsor for a ... See full summary »
The Flamingos are known mostly for their R n B ballads. In 1959 their mellow version of "I Only Have Eyes for You" became their biggest hit,though in this film their versatility is evident as they perform only upbeat numbers such as "'Jump Children". See more »
In what was to be his last movie,legendary 50s DJ Alan Freed(1921-1965),playing..er..legendary 50s DJ Alan Freed,once again presents us a host of early rock and roll stars,hung together with a threadbare perfunctory plot(just as in "Rock Rock Rock","Rock around the clock" and "Dont knock the rock").Shot at the Hal Roach studio in Culver City Los Angeles(where Laurel and Hardy once romped)in January 1959,"Go Johnny go" is one of the most interesting and enjoyable of the early rock films.Chuck Berry features,not just as a performer but an actor as well,he's seen hanging out with Freed,accompanying him it appears wherever he goes!As was usual in Freed's cheap and cheerful films,the rock and roll stars on display are some of the best.The movie has the only big screen performance of Richie Valens,who died very shortly after he filmed this appearance,in the notorious 1959 plane crash,which also claimed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.Another tragic rocker here is Eddie Cochran,a car accident victim about a year and a half after he made the film.The story,such as it is,concerns Freed's desire to make a star out of a talented nobody-this means we get a lot of crooning from lanky teen idol Jimmy Clanton,playing the aforesaid nobody(the "Johnny" of the title).I can never make up my mind about Clanton,he was competent actor,though he is certainly surrounded by his betters as performers in the line up here.
Look out for scene with Alan Freed jamming on drums along with Chuck Berry and his group on the marvellous "Little Queenie",Freed looks like he's having a ball.Sadly the good times were not to roll much longer for Freed as personal and career problems mounted.He became embroiled in the payola scandal and was pursued relentlessly by the tax man.Dropped from his TV and radio shows,moving to the west coast to get work,his drinking was turning him into a serious and sick alcoholic,he died broke,killed by Uraemia in 1965.
Performers(alphabetical)- Chuck Berry-"Go Johnny go","Little Queenie" "Memphis Tennessee" The Cadillacs-"Jaywalker","Please Mr Johnson"(They may have been the poor man's Coasters,but they're great here,acting out their song stories on the stage in a club). Jo-Ann Campbell-"Momma can I go out?" Jimmy Clanton-"Angel face","It takes a long time","My love is true","Ship on a stormy sea" Eddie Cochran-"Teenage Heaven"(watch Eddie dance with his guitar!) The Flamingos-"Jump children"(a performance of breathtaking exuberance) Harvey Fuqua-"Don't be afraid to love me" Sandy Stewart-"Heavenly father","Playmate"(the last one a perky piece performed in a recording studio) Sandy Stewart/Jimmy Clanton-"Once again" Richie Valens-"Ooh my head""(performed for Freed and his pals and a tiny group of teens) Jackie Wilson-"You'd better know it"(Wilson,a reliable showstopper as always-and one of the coolest rockers ever.If you've seen stills or clips of Jackie performing in front of a silly coffee pot with a face backdrop,this is where it's from!)
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