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John Fred

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John Fred
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 15, 2005(2005-04-15) (aged 63)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.[1]
GenresBlue-eyed soul, swamp pop, bubblegum pop, rock and roll, R&B
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
Years active1956–2002
LabelsPaula, Montell

John Fred Gourrier (May 8, 1941 – April 15, 2005) 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, Louisiana, the son of John Fred Gourrier Sr. and Miriam Chaisson. He had two sisters: Ann Gourrier Kleinpeter and Kay Gourrier Begue.[1]


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.[3] Fred played basketball and baseball at Louisiana State University and Southeastern Louisiana University.[4]

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)",[a][5] whose name is a parodic play on the title of The Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".[6][7] The song, issued by Louisiana-based Jewel Records on the Paula label, became successful, knocking "Hello, Goodbye", another Beatles song, out of the No. 1 chart position on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in January 1968.[8] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[9] 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.[10]

Later life and death[edit]

Fred continued to perform in bands, coached high school basketball and baseball, and remained a fixture at concerts and shows in his hometown. He produced records for other artists, including Irma Thomas and Fats Domino, and hosted a popular local radio show, The Roots of Rock 'n' Roll, at WBRH in Baton Rouge.[11] He released several solo albums and one group effort, Louisiana Boys, with Joe Stampley and G. G. Shinn. He also wrote and produced radio commercials and jingles, earning two Clio Awards.[1]

In 2004, Fred's health began to fail. Complications ensued after he received a kidney transplant, which culminated in a long hospital stay in New Orleans. He died on April 15, 2005, at the age of 63, survived by his wife, Sandra; a son, Kevin; Kevin's wife, Jodi; and a grandson, Jon Sterling Gourrier.


in 1999 he received the Louisiana Hall of Fame Living Legend Award,[1] and in 2007 was the first artist inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.[12] Later, he was appointed to serve on the Louisiana Music Commission.[1] He was also inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame[1] and the Delta Music Hall of Fame.[13]



  • John Fred and His Playboys (Paula LPS-2191), 1966
  • 34:40 of John Fred and His Playboys (Paula LPS-2193), 1967
  • Agnes English [reissued as Judy in Disguise, with identical tracklist] (Paula LPS-2197), 1967[b]
  • Permanently Stated (Paula LPS-2201), 1969
  • Love My Soul (Uni 73077), 1970
  • Juke Box (Guinness GNS 36022), 1977[15]
  • Louisiana Boys (Bayou Music BM9301-2), 1993 (as the Louisiana Boys)[16]
  • I Miss Ya'll (The Unreleased Masters) (Club Louisianne CDCL 2001), 1999[17]
  • Somebody's Knockin' (TJ Records TJ0102), 2002[18]
  • Roots Rockin' Blues (CD Baby B01HQEGS8A), 2016 (as the Louisiana Riverfront Band)[19][c]


  • The Best of John Fred and the Playboys (Sugarcane Records SR-100), 1984
  • The History of John Fred and the Playboys (Paula PCD-9000), 1991
  • John Fred & His Playboy Band – Anthologie 1958/1969 (Magic 3930818), 2008, France
  • … With Glasses – The Very Best of John Fred and His Playboy Band: The Jewel and Paula Recordings 1964-69 (Fuel 2000 – 3020617562), 2009[d]
  • Judy in Disguise with Glasses (Liberation Hall 5071), 2022


  • The Golden Age Of American Rock 'n' Roll Volume 6 (Ace CDCHD 650), 1997, UK – "Shirley"
  • Swamp Pop by the Bayou: Troubles, Tears & Trains (Ace CDCHD 1462), 2016, UK – "You Know You Made Me Cry", "Shirley"
  • Swamp Pop: The Best of Bayou Country (Apple Music), 2022 – "Good Lovin'"
  • East Coast Teen Party (East Coast Music – ECM CD333) – "Boogie Children", "Shirley"


Year Song Titles
Peak chart positions Label Album
Billboard Hot 100 [20] Cashbox Top 100 [20] Record World[20]
1958 "Shirley" (T. Bryan-J. Gourrier)
b/w "My Love for You" (T. Bryan-J. Gourrier)
82 78 Montel SJM 1002 [e][f][g]
1959 "Mirror, Mirror (On The Wall)" (Bryan-Montel-J. Gourrier)
b/w "To Have and To Hold" (Bryan-Montel-J. Gourrier)
Montel SJM-2001
1960 "Good Lovin'" (Charles)
b/w "You Know You Made Me Cry" (Smith-Caronna)
Montel 1007[h]
1961 "Down in New Orleans" (Gourrier-Bryan)
b/w "I Love You" (Gourrier-Bryan)
Montel M-X-904
1964 "My First Love" (Lynn Ourso)
b/w "Boogie Children"[i] (Lynn Ourso)
N-Joy 1005[j]
John Fred and His Playboys
"Dial 101 (Cause I Still Love You)" (Gourrier-Bryan)
b/w "There Goes That Train" (R. McGee)
Jewel 730 [e]
"You're Mad at Me" (L. Ourso)
b/w "Lenne" (L. Ourso)
Jewel 736[h]
"My First Love" (Lynn Ourso)
b/w "Boogie Children"[i] (Lynn Ourso)
Jewel 737[l]
John Fred and His Playboys
1965 "Wrong To Me" (J. Fred-L. Ourso)
b/w "How Can I Prove" (J. Fred-L. Ourso)
Jewel 743[m]
"Making Love to You"[n] (Gourrier-Ourso-Hawkins)
b/w "Fortune Teller" (Naomi Neville)
Paula 225 [k]
1966 "Sun City)" (Goodson-Cowart-Ourso)
b/w "Can't I Get (A Word In)" (J. Fred-L. Ourso-H. Cowart)
Paula 234 34:40 of John Fred and His Playboys
John Fred and His Playboys
"Doing The Best I Can" (Gourrier-Ourso-Hawkins)
b/w "Leave Her Never" (Naomi Neville)
Paula 244 34:40 of John Fred and His Playboys
"Outta My Head" (John Fred-C. Yost)
b/w "Loves Come in Time" (Lynn Ourso)
Paula 247
1967 "Up and Down" (John Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "Wind Up Doll" (Cyril Vetter-John Fred)
142 Paula 259 Agnes English
"Agnes English" (John Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "Sad Story" (John Fred-A. Bernard)
125 126 108 Paula 273 Agnes English
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "When the Lights Go Out" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
1[o] 1 1 Paula 282
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "No Letter Today" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
Hip Pocket HP-25[p]
1968 "Hey, Hey Bunny" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "No Letter Today" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
57 41 39 Paula 294 Permanently Stated
"We Played Games" (J. Fred & A. Bernard)
b/w "Lonely Are The Lonely" (J. Fred & A. Bernard)
130 122 111 Paula 303
"Little Dum Dum" (J. Fred, A. Bernard & R. Goodson)
b/w "Tissue Paper" (J. Fred & A. Bernard)
Paula 310
"Sometimes You Just Can't Win" (R. Brians-K. Henderson)
b/w "What Is Happiness" (J. Fred, A. Bernard & H. Cowart)
Paula 315 Agnes English
Permanently Stated
"Shirley" (J. Fred)
b/w "High Heel Sneakers" (R. Higgenbotham)
Montel-Michelle M-998[q] [e][f][g]
1969 "Silly Sarah Carter (Eating on a Moonpie)" (J. Fred-L. Ourso)
b/w "Back in the U.S.S.R." (J. Lennon-P. McCartney)
Uni 55135 [f][g]
Love My Soul
"Three Deep in a Feeling" (J. Fred-L. Ourso)
b/w "Open Doors" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
Uni 55160 Love My Soul
"Love My Soul" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "Julia Julia" (J. Fred-L. Ourso)
Uni 55187 Love My Soul
1970 "Where's Everybody Going" (J. Fred-L. Ourso)
b/w "Miss Knocker" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
Uni 55220 Love My Soul
1973 "I'm in Love Again"/"In The Mood" (A. Domino/Joe Garland-Andy Razaf)
b/w "Bayou Country" (D.Bardwell-T. Veitch)
Bell 45.382[r]
1976 "Hey Good Lookin'" (Hank Williams)
b/w "Juke Box Shirley" (J. Gourrier-B. Chehardy)
Sugarcane VPUS-11/12 Juke Box
1984 "Shirley" (T. Bryan-J. Gourrier)
b/w "Harlem Shuffle" (R. Reif-E. Nelson)
Paula 445 [e][f][g]
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" (J. Fred-A. Bernard)
b/w "Agnes English" (John Fred-A. Bernard)
Paula 447[s] Agnes English
1988 "Louisiana's Gonna Rise Again" (Chris Ballard, Margie Ballard, Daryl Speights)
b/w Same (instrumental)
Straight Talk ST-101-A
Reissues "Judy in Disguise"
"Mother in Law" (Ernie K-Doe)
Eric 303
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)"
"Hey, Hey, Bunny"
Collectables 3315
"She's My Baby Doll" (The Tune Tones)
Louisianna L01[t]
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)"
"Hold Back the Night" (The Trammps)
Ripete R45-182
"Judy in Disguise"
"Do You Want to Dance" (Bobby Freeman)
Rebound RB 228
"Pushin' Too Hard" (The Seeds)
"Judy In Disguise"
Trip TR65
Discography notes
  1. ^ Other band members co-wrote songs as well including Tommy Bryan, Lynwood "Lynn" Ourso, Ronnie Goodson, Howard Cowart, and John "Buddy" Chehardy.
  2. ^ Agnes English was the band's only charting album in the US, reaching #154 on the Billboard chart in 1968.[14]
  3. ^ Project led by ex-Playboys Lynn Ourso and Howard Cowart. Vocals by Luther Kent and John Fred (recorded prior to his death in 2005).
  4. ^ Earlier release in 2001 (Fuel 2000 – 3020611112) had only 17 tracks vs. 28 tracks on the 2009 release.
  5. ^ a b c d Included on The Best of John Fred and the Playboys compilation (Sugarcane Records, 1984).
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Included on The History of John Fred and the Playboys compilation (Paula Records, 1991)
  7. ^ a b c d e f Included on John Fred & His Playboy Band – Anthologie 1958/1969 compilation (Magic Records, France, 2008).
  8. ^ a b Credited to John Fred.
  9. ^ a b Remake of John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen'" combined with Frankie Lee Sims' "Walkin' With Frankie".[5]
  10. ^ Bootleg exists with "Just Want to Make Love to You" b/w "Boogie Children".
  11. ^ a b c Included on With Glasses-The Very Best of John Fred and His Playboy Band compilation (Fuel 2000, 2009)
  12. ^ Credited to The Playboys.
  13. ^ Credited to John Fred (With The Playboys)
  14. ^ Remake of Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You".
  15. ^ Also #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, and Switzerland; #3 in Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
  16. ^ 4" flexi-disc.
  17. ^ A-side remixed with horn overdubs. B-side credited to The Playboy Band.[5]
  18. ^ Both tracks credited to John Fred and the Creepers.
  19. ^ Digitally remastered and remixed in stereo.
  20. ^ "Shirley" credited to The Playboys.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "John Fred (Gourrier) Obituary". Bob Walker's New Orleans Radio Shrine. 20 April 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  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. ^ Ankeny, Jason. John Fred Biography at AllMusic
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b c Davies, Phil. "John Fred". This Is My Story. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  6. ^ Kasser, Tom (July 2013). Lucy in the Mind of Lennon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-974760-3.
  7. ^ "Seven things you didn't know about "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"". blog.oup.com. Oxford University Press. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  8. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Billboard Books. p. 235. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
  9. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). Baghdad, Afghanistan: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 221. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  10. ^ Wirt, John (2005). "Spectropop Remembers John Fred". Spectropop. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  11. ^ "John Fred". Rocky52. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  12. ^ "Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductees 2007". www.LMHOF.org.
  13. ^ "Delta Music Hall Of Fame To Induct James". James Burton Foundation. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2018). Top Pop Albums 1955-2016. Prometheus Global Media. ISBN 978-0-89820-226-7.
  15. ^ John Fred and His Playboys - Juke Box. 1977 – via Discogs.
  16. ^ Louisiana Boys - Louisiana Boys. Joe Stampley, John Fred, and G. G. Shinn. 1993 – via Discogs.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  17. ^ John Fred – I Miss Ya'll (The Unreleased Masters). 1999 – via Discogs.
  18. ^ John Fred - Somebody's Knockin'. 2002 – via 45worlds.
  19. ^ Wirt, John (2 September 2016). "As a Supergroup of Local Musicians, the Louisiana Riverfront Band Finally Releases a Debut Album". 225 Magazine. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  20. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book Billboard/Cash Box/Record World 1954-1982. Sheridan Books. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.

External links[edit]