Donnie Brooks

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Donnie Brooks
Birth nameJohn Dee Abohosh
Also known asJohnny Jordan
Dick Bush
Johnny Faire
Born(1936-02-06)February 6, 1936
OriginDallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedFebruary 23, 2007(2007-02-23) (aged 71)
GenresPop, rockabilly, surf rock
Happy Tiger

Donnie Brooks (born John Dee Abohosh; February 6, 1936 – February 23, 2007) was an American pop music singer.[1] Brooks is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Early life[edit]

Born in Dallas, Texas, Abohosh moved to Ventura, California in his teens, where he was adopted by his stepfather and took the name John D. Faircloth. He discovered a singing voice at a young age and recorded a few minor hits with several small record labels under the stage names Johnny Jordan, Dick Bush (which sole single "Hollywood Party" was his first for Era), and Johnny Faire, the latter gaining some sales with "Bertha Lou" in early 1959, while a cover version by Clint Miller charted nationally.


In 1958, on Vine Street north of Hollywood Boulevard, across the street from the Capitol Records building and above the Ontra Cafeteria, were the offices of Hal Zeiger – World Wide Attractions, which produced The Borscht Capades starring Mickey Katz (father of Joel Grey) and several Southern California rock and roll concert venues, including Saturday Night at El Monte Legion Stadium. (The previous assortment of phrases could use a verb or two. ) Also in the complex was the Johnny Otis (Willie & The Hand Jive) recording studio, the offices of Eldo Records and the office of promoter Red "The Old Red Cat" Gilson. A late morning, midweek meeting was held by Gilson and a woman, Linda Stewart, who identified herself as representing a remarkable singer and showman named Donnie Brooks. Gilson was persuaded to "give the kid a shot" at the next El Monte Legion Stadium show. That Saturday, Brooks was introduced and sang two numbers, including Ray Charles' hit "What'd I Say". His performance was ultrahigh energy rarely seen by the Legion audience that stood filling the arena from the back wall to the edge of the five-foot-high stage. It was exciting, but because he didn't have a record being played on the radio, that may have been his only Legion appearance that year. Encouraged by friends Dorsey and Johnny Burnette, he persevered in the music business; and in late 1959, he made his first recording using the name Donnie Brooks. Called "Li'l Sweetheart", it received a lukewarm reception, but his March 1960 hit single, "Mission Bell" on Era Records demonstrated a quality voice in an upbeat song that peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2] His follow-up, "Doll House"/"Round Robin" (a double-sided hit single with a color picture sleeve on Era Records) peaked at No. 31 in December 1960. According to a 2006 concert at Sherman Indian High School, Riverside, California, posted on YouTube,[3] Brooks revealed that he was the voice of the opening theme to the cartoon series George of the Jungle. He also sang the theme to the cartoon series Super Chicken and Tom Slick. In addition to Mission Bell, Brooks produced Merrilee Rush (Angel of the Morning), Cannibal + the Headhunters (Land of 1000 Dances), Len Barry (1-2-3, "Bristol Stomp", You Can't Sit Down), Jewel Akens (Birds + Bees). All still appear on the Capehart Music Treasury vis downloads CDs, and DVDs.


Although he continued to record through the 1970s, he never again achieved the same level of success. In 1971, Brooks played the role of Christ in the rock opera Truth of Truths for Oak Records. The record was produced by Ray Ruff, who previously worked for ABC-Paramount, Happy Tiger and Dot.[1] Brooks toured with other performers from the early rock and roll era in oldies revival shows.

Brooks had five children, Tony, Steve, Cathy, Saji, and Shad. All are still living.


Brooks died of a heart attack following a long illness on February 23, 2007. He was 71.

There was a special memorial service and rockabilly show in his honor on Monday, March 26, 2007, at the Elks Lodge in Burbank, California.



Year Album Record Label
1961 The Happiest Era


Year Title Peak chart
Record Label B-side Album
1959 "If You're Lookin'" Era "Li'l Sweetheart"
"White Orchid" "Sway and Move With the Beat"
1960 "The Devil Ain't a Man" "How Long" The Happiest
"Mission Bell" 7 "Do It for Me"
"Doll House" 31 "Round Robin" (BB #115)
1961 "Memphis" 90 "That's Why"
"All I Can Give" "Wishbone"
"Boomerang" "How Long"
"Up to My Ears (In Tears)" "Sweet Lorraine"
"Your Little Boy's Come Home" "Goodnight Judy"
1962 "My Favorite Kind of Face" "He Stole Flo"
"Oh! You Beautiful Doll" "Just a Bystander"
"It's Not That Easy" "Cries My Heart"
1964 "Girl Machine" Reprise "Gone"
"Can't Help Lovin' You" "Pickin' up the Pieces"
1965 "If I Never Get to Love You" "Hey, Little Girl"
1966 "I Call Your Name" Challenge "Be Fair"
"Pink Carousel" "Minstrel Man"
1968 "Blue Soldier" Era "Love Is Funny That Way"
1970 "Abracadabra" Happy Tiger "I Know You as a Woman"
"Hush" "I Know You as a Woman"
"My God and I" "Pink Carousel"


  1. ^ a b Long, Donald John (July 31, 2003). "Interview with Ray Ruff & Donnie Brooks". Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1998). Billboard Top 10 Charts, 1958–1997. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 46. ISBN 0-89820-126-8.
  3. ^ "Donnie Brooks and Friends perform at Sherman Indian High". YouTube. July 13, 2012. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2020.

External links[edit]