Johnny Edwards (musician)

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Johnny Edwards
Birth name John Douglas Edwards
Origin Louisville, Kentucky
Genres Heavy metal, glam metal, hard rock
Associated acts Buster Brown, Montrose, Northrup, King Kobra, Wild Horses, Foreigner, Royal Jelly

John Douglas "Johnny" Edwards is an American rock singer who sang for the bands Buster Brown, Montrose,[1] King Kobra, Wild Horses, Northrup, Royal Jelly and is best known as the second lead singer of the rock band Foreigner.[2][3]


Edwards' first band of note were Buster Brown from Louisville, Kentucky. Together with drummer James Kottak, who had joined the group for their 1985 sophomore album, Sign of Victory, Edwards was recruited by guitarist Ronnie Montrose to appear on his 1987 album, Mean.[3] Now based in California, Edwards teamed up with the band Northrup whose members were approached by drummer Carmine Appice to join forces in a new version of King Kobra. The resulting King Kobra III' album was released in 1988 but Appice's focus was already on Blue Murder by then and King Kobra split up.[4]

With Northrup not making any progress and a deal with Enigma Records falling apart, Edwards joined former Buster Brown and Montrose bandmate James Kottak, fresh out of Kingdom Come, and Kingdom Come guitarist Rick Steier in a new band called Wild Horses, championed by producer Keith Olsen. However, Edwards would end up leaving the band before their first album after receiving an offer to join Foreigner.

Mick Jones, the founding member, lead guitarist, and main songwriter of Foreigner had been at home recovering from having the flu. Jones was in the process of listening to audition tapes of various singers to replace the newly departed Lou Gramm when he came upon a cassette of Johnny Edwards. Upon hearing the demo tape, he jumped out of bed and shouted out, "This is it!", referring to Edwards' voice as the perfect replacement for Gramm.[3]

Released on June 14, 1991, Foreigner's new album, Unusual Heat had eleven songs in total, and ten of these were the combination of mainstay Mick, Johnny and co-producer, Terry Thomas, who had previously worked with Bad Company's lead vocalist, Brian Howe, on their last three albums as producer and songwriter.

In addition to providing lead vocals, Edwards was also an accomplished guitarist who not only added rhythm guitar but also played the lead guitar in the song "Mountain of Love", the fifth track on the Unusual Heat album. The Billboard 200 documented Unusual Heat at #117 on August 3, 1991. The album's first single, "Lowdown and Dirty" was included on the band's Rhino double-CD retrospective, Juke Box Heroes. Although Edwards received some critical acclaim for his live performances and vocal style, Unusual Heat was a commercial failure, and Lou Gramm returned the following year, immediately ending Edwards' tenure as Foreigner's lead vocalist.[3] In 1992, the reunited Gramm and Foreigner founder Mick Jones released The Very Best & Beyond, a greatest hits collection with three new songs. One of the tracks, "With Heaven On Our Side", was co-written by Johnny Edwards. At the time of his departure from Foreigner, Edwards had co-written ten songs with Jones, in anticipation of a follow-up album to Unusual Heat.[3]

Post-Foreigner, Edwards teamed up with former Kingdom Come guitarist Danny Steigerwald, aka Danny Stag, bassist David Seaton, and drummer Jeff Klaven, formerly with Cobra and Krokus, under the name Royal Jelly. The group's eponymous 1994 debut album was produced by Matt Wallace and released on Island Records. Despite its contemporary alternative rock flavor, it sank without a trace.

"It was the best thing I ever did musically. That's the only thing I've ever done that I can listen to today without throwing up. I always said if I could record one album I was proud of, I would be satisfied."

– Johnny Edwards on his album with Royal Jelly[3]

Edwards subsequently left the music business, returning to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, to raise a family. He later became associated with the telecommunications industry.[3]

In 2001, an album of Northrup demos recorded in the late 1980s, featuring Edwards on lead vocals, was released by Metal Mayhem Music under the name JK Northrup.[5]

In a 2004 interview, Jeff "JK" Northrup, Edwards' old bandmate and friend, discussed receiving an offer to record a new rock album with Edwards as vocalist. Edwards declined, choosing to remain outside music. Paul Shortino assumed lead vocals on the project. Edwards still contributed songwriting and co-lead vocals for two tracks on the album Afterlife, issued in 2004 on MTM Music.[6]

Edwards made another guest vocal appearance on JK Northrup's 2007 album, Wired In My Skin, providing lead vocals on the title track.

Edwards and Northrup also can be heard playing and singing together on two compilation rock albums released by the MelodicRock Records label and website.[6]



  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Biography: Montrose". AMG. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Prato, Greg. "Biography: Foreigner". AMG. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kevin Gibson, You can go home again (Sometimes it just takes a while). Louisville Music News, July, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-08.
  4. ^ Jason Ritchie (2003). "10 Questions With... JK Northrup (King Kobra)". 
  5. ^ "Talkin' Trash With... JK Northrup". April 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Interview with Jeff Northrup; Retrieved 2014-07-08.

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