Johnny Lee (singer)

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This article is about the singer. For the voice of Brer Rabbit in Song of the South, see Johnny Lee (actor).
Johnny Lee
Johnny Lee.jpg
Background information
Birth name John Lee Ham[1]
Born (1946-07-03) July 3, 1946 (age 69)
Origin Alta Loma, Texas, USA
Genres Country, Pop, Countrypolitan
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1976–present
Labels Asylum Records
Warner Bros. Records
Curb Records
Associated acts Mickey Gilley

John Lee Ham (born July 3, 1946) is an American country music singer known professionally as Johnny Lee. His 1980 single "Lookin' for Love" became a crossover hit, spending three weeks at number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart while also appearing in the Top 5 on the Billboard Pop chart and Top 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. He racked up a series of country hits in the early and mid-1980s.


Lee grew up on a dairy farm in Alta Loma, Texas. In high school he formed a rock n' roll band, "Johnny Lee and the Roadrunners". After graduation Lee enlisted in the United States Navy and served a tour of duty on the USS Chicago, a guided missile cruiser. After his discharge, he played cover tunes in Texas nightclubs and bars throughout the 1960s.

Lee worked 10 years with Mickey Gilley, both on tour and at Gilley’s Club in Pasadena, Texas. The soundtrack from the 1980 hit movie Urban Cowboy, which was largely shot at Gilley's, catapulted Lee to fame. The record spawned several hit singles, including Lee's "Lookin' for Love."

In addition to "Lookin' for Love", Lee had five songs reach the top of the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart: "One in a Million" (1980); "Bet Your Heart on Me" (1981); "The Yellow Rose" (1984, a duet with Lane Brody and the theme song to the NBC TV-series of the same name); and "You Could Have Heard a Heartbreak" (1984). His other major hits include "Pickin' Up Strangers" (1981), "Prisoner of Hope" (1981), "Cherokee Fiddle", "Sounds Like Love", "Hey Bartender" (1983), "Rollin' Lonely", and "Save the Last Chance" (1985).

From 1982 to 1984, Lee was married to Dallas actress Charlene Tilton, with whom he had a daughter Cherish (born 1982). He later had a son with ex-wife Deb whom he married in 1986,[2] named Johnny Lee Jr. (1990-2014). Johnny Lee Jr. died at the age of 23.

In the fall of 2008 Lee began performing regularly in Branson, Missouri.



Year Album Chart Positions RIAA
US Country
CAN Country
1977 For Lovers Only
1980 Lookin' for Love 8 6 Gold
1981 Bet Your Heart on Me 9
1982 Sounds Like Love 32
1983 Hey Bartender 15
Greatest Hits 41
1984 Til' the Bars Burn Down 23
1985 Keep Me Hangin' On 36
Workin' for a Livin 23
1989 New Directions
1990 Greatest Hits Volume 2
1990 The Best of Johnny Lee
1995 Country Party
1996 Ramblin' Rose
1999 Live at Gilley's
2001 At His Best
2002 Live at Billy Bob's Texas
2003 The 13th of July
Greatest Hits
2005 Santa Claus Is Lookin' for Love
2006 Country Candy Store


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country
CAN Country
1976 "Sometimes" 59 N/A
"Red Sails in the Sunset" 22 Country Party
1977 "Ramblin' Rose" 37
"Country Party" 15 50
"Dear Alice" 58
1978 "This Time" 43
1980 "Lookin' for Love"[A] 1 5 18 Lookin' for Love
"One in a Million" 1 102 8
1981 "Pickin' Up Strangers" 3 4
"Prisoner of Hope" 3 4
"Rode Hard and Put Up Wet" 52 Urban Cowboy 2
"Bet Your Heart on Me" 1 54 5 Bet Your Heart on Me
1982 "Be There for Me Baby" 10 5
"When You Fall in Love" 14 46
"Cherokee Fiddle" 10 24 Sounds Like Love
1983 "Sounds Like Love" 6 9
"Hey Bartender" 2 1 Hey Bartender
"My Baby Don't Slow Dance" 23 13
1984 "The Yellow Rose" (with Lane Brody) 1 1 'Til the Bars Burn Down
"One More Shot" 42 26
"You Could've Heard a Heart Break" 1 2 Workin' for a Livin'
1985 "Rollin' Lonely" 9 9
"Save the Last Chance" 12 12 Keep Me Hangin' On
"They Never Had to Get Over You" 19 57
1986 "The Loneliness in Lucy's Eyes
(The Life Sue Ellen Is Living)"
56 Dallas: The Music Story
"I Could Get Used to This" (with Lane Brody) 50 N/A
1989 "Maybe I Won't Love You Anymore" 59 New Directions
"I'm Not Over You" 69
"I Can Be a Heartbreaker Too" 53
"You Can't Fly Like an Eagle" 66


Year B-side Chart Positions Original A-side
US Country
1984 "Say When" flip "The Yellow Rose"
  • A^ Peaked at No. 20 on the RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and No. 54 on the RPM Top Singles chart in Canada.


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