DeFrancesco grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By the time he was 14, he was already performing in local Philadelphia jazz clubs with his father. At the age of 18 DeFrancesco had achieved recognition on the Philadelphia scene for his blues vocals and guitar playing.
In 1997, DeFrancesco joined the faculty of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He currently resides in Philadelphia, and performs with his group the Johnny DeFrancesco Power Trio. He has worked with Duke Jethro, John Lee Hooker, Luther Tucker, Johnny Heartsman, and Ike Turner.
- A Tribute To B.B. King's 'Live At The Regal' (Ton A'Chopps, 2017) - with Duke Jethro
- The DeFrancesco Brothers (Vectordisc #016, 2011) - with Joey DeFrancesco
- I Saw It Comin' (Vectordisc #010, 2008) - with Joey DeFrancesco
- Power Trio Live! (Horseplay, 2001)
- Make A Move (Ton A'Chopps, 1995)
- 'Papa' John DeFrancesco - A Philadelphia Story (Savant, 2011)
- 'Papa' John DeFrancesco - Walking Uptown (Savant, 2004)
- 'Papa' John DeFrancesco - Jumpin' (Savant, 2003)
- 'Papa' John DeFrancesco - Hip Cake Walk (HighNote, 2001)
- Khani Cole - Places (Fahrenheit, 1999)
- 'Papa' John DeFrancesco - Doodlin' (Muse, 1992)
- Balos, Judith. "Papa John DeFrancesco: It's All In The Name!". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-01-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "The DeFrancesco Brothers, Jazz, Blues, and more". Vectordisc.com. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Johnny DeFrancesco | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Johnny DeFrancesco | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-10.