He is best remembered for the 1979 hit, "Sad Eyes". This song, which features John's falsettovocals, reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100. Earlier, in 1963 he recorded as the lead singer with Bobby & the Consoles. Recording for Diamond records, they had a small local hit with "My Jelly Bean".
John, then known as Bobby Pedrick Jr., first hit the popchart in 1958 when he was only 12 years old with "White Bucks and Saddle Shoes", written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. By 1965 he had changed his name and signed with MGM records for two ill fated singles. In 1967 he signed a contract with Columbia records and released a string of singles with help from writing partner Mike Gately. After a short tenure with Herb Alpert's A&M Records (1970–71), 1971 brought his next hit, a cover of The Tokens' 1961 hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" which climbed to #3 in 1972. This disc sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America on March 15, 1972. The 1980s saw John recording for Arista records with collaborator and guitarist Bobby Mancari, and New York keyboardist Steve Butera. A newly recorded version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight surfaced on his greatest hits CD in 1992.