Johnny A.

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Johnny A.
Johnny A. playing at the Twilight Festival on June 14, 2007.
Background information
Born (1952-11-14) November 14, 1952 (age 65)
Malden, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Instrumental rock, jazz, blues
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1975–present
Labels Aglaophone Records, Favored Nations, Artemis
Associated acts The Yardbirds, Peter Wolf, Bobby Whitlock

John Antonopoulos (born November 14, 1952 in Malden, Massachusetts),[1] known professionally as Johnny A., is an American guitarist and songwriter.

Early life[edit]

Born in Malden, Massachusetts of Greek heritage and growing up in the Boston area, Johnny A. became interested in music, starting with drums at age six. Upon being exposed to the Beatles in 1964 (age 11), Johnny's parents bought him a $49 Lafayette Electronics guitar. Johnny says his last name, Antonopoulos[2] (of Greek origin), was always getting mispronounced. "It's always been Johnny A. since age eight," he says.[3]



In the 1970s, Johnny A. formed a band called the Streets, performing mostly in the Boston area. The Streets had several extremely popular radio singles including the #1 "What Gives" on the legendary WBCN Radio "The Rock of Boston". As well as headlining on the Boston club scene, The Streets toured with or supported several major artists including Aerosmith, Bob Seger. The Streets also competed in the first WBCN "Rock 'n' Roll Rumble in 1979.


In 1980, Johnny formed the band Hidden Secret which also had a string of local hit singles including "No More Lonely Nights", which occupied the top spot on 'BCN for 26 weeks.

In 1986 his band, Hearts On Fire, as well continuing to produce hit local singles, placed second in the 1986 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble only to be edged out by Gang Green.

In the 1980s through the 1990s As a sideman, Johnny played with Santana percussionist Mingo Lewis as well as brief stint with Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug Clifford and then with Delaney & Bonnie, Derek & the Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock. He then began a seven-year stint as guitarist and musical director with the J. Geils Band front man Peter Wolf. He played on Wolf's albums, and co-produced one of them, Long Line, as well as joining him on world tours.

In 1999, Johnny A. launched his solo career and independently released his debut CD Sometime Tuesday Morning.


In 2000, Johnny A. signs a licensing deal to re-release Sometime Tuesday Morning with Steve Vai's Favored Nations Entertainment.

In 2001, Sometime Tuesday Morning was re-released on Steve Vai's Favored Nations Entertainment label Sony/RED distribution. The album spawned the #1 single "Oh Yeah" across the USA on the AAA radio format. It marked the first time in over a decade that an instrumental had achieved the top spot on radio. STM went on to sell over 100,000 copies.

In 2003, Sometime Tuesday Morning was then picked up for distribution by Danny Goldberg at Artemus Records.

In 2003, Gibson Custom Guitar company, in close collaboration with Johnny A., released a "Johnny A." Signature Model guitar, designed to the artist's specifications.[4]

Creating an artist signature model guitar is not something we take lightly. But sometimes a player comes along who is not only a musical innovator and artist of the highest-caliber, but has innovative ideas about designing a totally new instrument. And that's Johnny, who just knocked us off our feet.

— Rick Gembar, Gibson Guitars Senior VP

In 2003, Johnny A. signs a multi-record contract with Steve Vai's Sony/Red distributed Favored Nations Entertainment and saw the release of the "radio-only" promotional Johnny A. Christmas single "Sleigh Ride", released on the label.

In 2004, "Get Inside" was released on the Favored Nations Label, yielding two radio singles, "I Had To Laugh," (which made the Grammy nominations ballot) and a radio edit of the title track "Get Inside."

In 2006, Warner Bros./Alfred Publishing released a Johnny A. instructional DVD entitled "Taste, Tone, Space."

In 2007, Gibson Custom guitar company released a second Johnny A. signature guitar, the Johnny A. Standard.


In 2010, Johnny A. released "One November Night" (2010 Aglaophone Records), a live DVD/CD set recorded at Sculler's Jazz in his hometown of Boston, MA.[5]

In 2010, Johnny A. is the recipient of The Boston Music Award's Blues Artist of the Year 2010.[6]

In 2014, Johnny A. released, "Driven", (June 3, 2014),[7] marking his engineering debut as well as mixing, producing and playing all the instruments on the album.[8]

In 2014, Gibson Custom released a "new" version of the Johnny A. Standard.[9]

In December 14, 2014 Johnny A. was inducted into the Boston Music Hall of Fame at the Boston Music Awards.[10]

In 2015, Johnny A. joined The Yardbirds.[11]


Johnny's style often recalls Danny Gatton as well as some aspects of Jeff Beck and Pat Martino.[12] His encompasses elements of rock, jazz, and blues, and he often uses a whammy bar.[13] Among his musical influences, he cites The Beatles, Yardbirds, Everly Brothers, Wes Montgomery, Chet Atkins, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Les Paul.[14]


Johnny has said his last name (of Greek origin) was always getting mispronounced. "It's always been Johnny A. since age eight."[1]


Sometime Tuesday Morning[edit]

Release 1999 (Aglaophone Records) - international re-release 2001 (Favored Nations/Aglaophone Records)
1. "Sometime Tuesday Morning"
2. "Oh Yeah"
3. "Wichita Lineman"
4. "Two Wheel Horse"
5. "In The Wind"
6. "Yes It Is"
7. "You Don't Love Me"
8. "Up In The Attic"
9. "Walk Don't Run"
10. "Tex Critter"
11. "Lullabye For Nicole"
12. "Walkin' West Ave."

"Sleigh Ride"[edit]

2002 radio promo single (Favored Nations/Aglaophone Records)
1. "Sleigh Ride"
2. "Oh Yeah"

Get Inside[edit]

2004 (Favored Nations)
1. "Hip Bone"
2. "I Had To Laugh"
3. "Poor Side of Town"
4. "Sing Singin'"
5. "Get Inside"
6. "Bundle Of Joy"
7. "Krea Gata"
8. "The Wind Cries Mary"
9. "Ignorance Is Bliss"
10."Sway A Little"
12."Another Life"

Taste • Tone • Space[edit]

2006 (Alfred Publishing)
Instructional guitar DVD

One November Night[edit]

2010 - Live DVD/CD 2-disc set (Aglaophone Records)
1. "I Had To Laugh"
2. "Sing Singin'"
3. "The Wind Cries Mary"
4. "Tex Critter"
5. "Lullabye For Nicole"
6. "Two Wheel Horse"
7. "Get Inside"
8. "The Night Before"
9. "Krea Gata"
10."Ignorance Is Bliss"
11."Wichita Lineman"
12."Memphis, Tennessee"
13."Jimi Jam"
14."Walk Away Renée"


2014 - (Aglaophone Records)
1. "Ghost"
2. "A Mask You Wear"
3. "C'mon, C'mon"
4. "The Night I Said Goodbye"
5. "From A Dark Place"
6. "To Love Somebody"
7. "Out Of Nowhere"
8. "The Arizona Man"
9. "It Must Have Been You"
10."Backbone Slip"
11."Gone... (like a sunset)"

Other contributions[edit]

  • Bobby Whitlock Live at The Bottom Line - NYC -10/92 (1992)
  • For The Love Of Harry, (tribute to Harry Nilsson) Peter Wolf & The Houseparty 5 (1995), guitar "You're Breakin' My Heart"
  • Long Line, Peter Wolf (1996), guitar/co-producer
  • Fool's Parade, Peter Wolf (1998), guitar on "Ride Lonesome, Ride Hard"
  • Beloved Few, Beloved Few (1998) bajo sexto on the song "The Beloved Few"
  • Sometime Tuesday Morning songbook Warner Bros./Alfred Publishing (2001)
  • WYEP Live and Direct: Volume 4 - On Air Performances (2002) "Tex Critter"
  • Get Inside songbook Alfred Publishing (2004)
  • One Last Wish, Stu Kimball (2006) featured guitarist on the songs "Little One" and "Elation"
  • Counting Down, The Brooks Young Band (2010) featured guitarist on the title song "Counting Down"
  • Just Across The River, Jimmy Webb (2010) featured guitarist on the song "Galveston"
  • Jim McCarty and Friends Live from Callahan's, Jim McCarty (2011) Johnny A. co-wrote with and is featured with Jim McCarty on the songs "J&A Jump" and "South Boulevard Blues"
  • Thank You Les, CD and documentary tribute to Les Paul (2012). Johnny A. is featured on the song "Sweet Georgia Brown"
  • Beautiful, Jerad Finck featuring Johnny A. (2012) featured guitarist on the song "Beautiful"
  • Deja Blues, Gary Hoey (2013) lead/rhythm and slide guitars on the song "She's Walking"
  • Two Roads East, Jon Butcher (2016) featured solo on the song "Transcendence"
  • Eye Of The Writer, Jim Peterik (2016) featured guitarist on the song "Vehicle"


  1. ^ Johnny A. Interview
  2. ^ Philadelphia City Paper March 11-17, 2004 Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Johnny A. | Archives | Reviews
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Guitarist Johnny A. to Release New Album, 'Driven,' June 3
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Pop Matters".
  13. ^ Joyce, Mike (April 22, 2005). "Guitarist Johnny A., Getting Everybody's Licks In". The Washington Post. p. C08.
  14. ^ A., Johnny (2005). Taste - Tone - Space (DVD). Alfred Publishing Co. ISBN 0-7579-4075-7.

External links[edit]