Johnny Paris of Johnny & the Hurricanes dies in Michigan hospital
May 8, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- The man known to the world as Johnny Paris of the 1950s and '60s rock group Johnny & the Hurricanes has died at a Michigan hospital. He was 65.
John M. Pocisk, whose group had hits such as "Red River Rock" and "Beatnik Fly," died May 1 at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.
He had been in the hospital for nearly two months, but his illness and cause of death won't be released until an autopsy is finished, said his son Jeff.
John Pocisk, who lived in the Toledo, Ohio, suburb of Rossford, was a tenor saxophonist who frequently toured Europe.
"Over in Europe, he was still popular," Jeff Pocisk told The Blade of Toledo. "He liked that he could come back here and have his own peace and be a regular guy and go someplace else and be a star."
Pocisk formed his first band while in high school, and his next group, the Orbits, developed a following. When they backed a vocal group on a demo tape, a management agency noticed them, and the group became Johnny & the Hurricanes.
Big hits started coming, especially "Red River Rock," which sold more than a million copies and reached No. 5 on U.S. charts and No. 3 in Great Britain.
The group played at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962, headlining a gig that included a little-known English group called The Beatles.
Family members said services would be private.