John Fred

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John Fred
John Fred and his Playboy Band.png
John Fred and his Playboy Band in 1967
Background information
Birth nameJohn Fred Gourrier
Born(1941-05-08)May 8, 1941
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedApril 14, 2005(2005-04-14) (aged 63)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.[1]
GenresBlue-eyed soul, swamp pop,
bubblegum pop
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
Years active1956–2002
LabelsPaula, Montell
Associated actsJohn Fred & His Playboy Band, Andy Tarrant, Joe Sunseri, Buddy Chehardy

John Fred Gourrier (May 8, 1941 – April 14, 2005), known by his stage name John Fred, was an American blue-eyed soul, swamp pop, rock and roll, and R&B performer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, best known for the 1967 hit song "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)".[2]

Early life[edit]

John Fred was born on May 8, 1941 in Baton Rouge, the son of John Fred Gourrier, Sr., and Miriam Chaisson. He had one sister; Ann.


His group, John Fred and the Playboys, was formed in 1956 when Fred was 15; their first charting single was March 1959's "Shirley". He appeared on Alan Freed's show, but when Dick Clark asked him to sing on American Bandstand, Fred had to turn him down because he had to play in a basketball game.[citation needed] Fred played basketball and baseball at Louisiana State University and Southeastern Louisiana University.[3]

By 1967, the band was renamed John Fred & His Playboy Band (to avoid confusion with Gary Lewis & the Playboys) and Fred and band member Andrew Bernard co-wrote "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)", whose name is a parodic play on the title of The Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".[4] [5] The song, issued by Louisiana-based Jewel Records on the Paula label, became successful, knocking another Beatles song ("Hello, Goodbye") out of the No. 1 chart position on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in January 1968.[6] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[7] With the success of the single, John Fred & His Playboy Band was branded as a novelty act and never had another major success. The follow-up single, "Hey, Hey, Bunny" peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard chart and the band never again hit the Hot 100. Only after years of struggles did Fred obtain full legal rights to "Judy in Disguise" and its royalties.[citation needed]

Later life and death[edit]

Fred continued to perform in bands, coached high school basketball and baseball, remained a fixture at concerts and shows in his hometown, and hosted a popular local radio show, The Roots of Rock 'n' Roll.[citation needed] In 2002, he released his final album, Somebody's Knockin'.

In 2004, Fred's health began to fail and after receiving a kidney transplant, complications ensued which culminated in a long hospital stay in New Orleans until he died on April 14, 2005 at the age of 63. He was survived by his wife Sandra; a son, Kevin; Kevin's wife, Jodi; and a grandson, Jon Sterling Gourrier in Miami.


In April 2007, Fred was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.[8] He has been inducted into the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, Louisiana.[citation needed]

Singles discography[edit]

Year Titles (A-side, B-side) US Album
1958 "Shirley"
b/w "My Love For You"
82 Non-album tracks
1959 "Mirror, Mirror (On The Wall)"
b/w "To Have and To Hold"
1960 "Good Lovin'"
b/w "You Know You Made Me Cry"
1961 "Down In New Orleans"
b/w "I Love You"
1964 "Dial 101 (Cause I Still Love You)"
b/w "There Goes That Train"
"You're Mad At Me"
b/w "Lenne"
1965 "My First Love"
b/w "Boogie Children" (from John Fred and His Playboys)
"Wrong To Me"
b/w "How Can I Prove"
John Fred and His Playboys
"Making Love To You"
b/w "Fortune Teller" (Non-album track)
1966 "Sun City"
b/w "Can't I Get (A Word In)" (from John Fred and His Playboys)
34:30 Of John Fred and His Playboys
"Doing The Best I Can"
b/w "Leave Her Never"
"Outta My Head"
b/w "Loves Come In Time"
1967 "Up and Down"
b/w "Wind Up Doll" (Non-album track)
142* Agnes English
"Agnes English"
b/w "Sad Story"
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)"
b/w "When The Lights Go Out"
1968 "Hey, Hey Bunny"
b/w "No Letter Today"
57 Judy In Disguise With Glasses
"We Played Games"
b/w "Lonely Are The Lonely"
"Little Dum Dum"
b/w "Tissue Paper"
"Sometimes You Just Can't Win"
b/w "What Is Happiness" (from Permanently Stated)
Agnes English
1969 "Silly Sarah Carter (Eating On A Moonpie)"
b/w "Back In The U.S.S.R." (from Love My Soul)
Non-album track
"Three Deep In A Feeling"
b/w "Open Doors"
Love My Soul
"Love My Soul"
b/w "Julia Julia" (Non-album track)
1970 "Where's Everybody Going"
b/w "Miss Knocker" (Non-album track)
1973 "I'm In Love Again"/"In The Mood"
b/w "Bayou Country"
Non-album tracks
1976 "Hey Good Lookin'"
b/w "Juke Box Shirley"
1988 "Louisiana's Gonna Rise Again"
b/w Instrumental version of A-side

US charts are Billboard unless otherwise noted. * Record World singles chart.[9]
Agnes English was the band's only charting album in the US reaching 154 on the Billboard album chart in 1968.[10]


  1. ^ "John Fred". The Independent. London. 18 April 2005.
  2. ^ Associated Press (19 April 2005). "J. F. Gourrier Dies at 63; Sang 'Judy in Disguise'". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles (13th ed.). Menomenee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-89820-190-1.
  4. ^ Kasser, Tom (July 2013). Lucy in the Mind of Lennon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-974760-3.
  5. ^ "Seven things you didn't know about "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"". Oxford University Press. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  6. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Billboard Books. p. 235. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
  7. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). Baghdad, Afghanistan: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 221. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  8. ^ "Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductees 2007".
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book Billboard/Cash Box/Record World 1954-1982. Sheridan Books. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2018). Top Pop Albums 1955-2016. Prometheus Global Media. ISBN 978-0-89820-226-7.

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