Spartanburg Music Trail

Johnny Blowers

Johnny Blowers

Johnny Blowers
Audio Samples

All of Me

Come On A My House

That's What the Man Said

Audio Tour: Johnny Blowers

Johnny Blowers provided the swinging backbeat for Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and many other luminaries.

Born in Spartanburg in 1911, Blowers worked for a time at Alexander Music House, a downtown piano shop and music store. In his mid-20s, he moved to New York, and in 1942 he played drums on a radio program that featured a young, little known Frank Sinatra. After the show that day, Sinatra told Blowers, “We’ll work together again,” and they did.

Blowers is the drummer on Sinatra classics “Night and Day,” “All of Me,” “I’ve Got A Crush On You” and more than 70 others. Blowers thrived as a session player and as a staff musician at CBS, NBC and ABC in television’s early days.

In the early 1960s, he became a radio host who interviewed Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa and many others. In 1986 he joined the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. He stayed with that group for two decades, until he was 94-years-old, a year before his 2006 death. He won applause and notice as the last surviving drummer of the great swing era.

—Peter Cooper, author, professor, award-winning journalist, and Grammy-nominated artist

Interesting Fact

Blowers learned drums right alongside his father, who was also a percussionist. His first jobs were substituting for his father in local theater orchestras in the late '20s.

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