Johnny Preston Courville

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Johnny Preston Courville

Postby Lyn Breaux » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:45 pm

We lost another outstanding classmate and friend.

Johnny Preston - amazing singer (probably most famous for song "Running Bear") passed away at Baptist Hospital in Beaumont on Friday, March 4, 2011. The following is what appears on Wikipedia about Johnny

"Born as John Preston Courville in Port Arthur, Texas, of Cajun ancestry, Preston sang in high school choral contests throughout the state of Texas. He formed a rock and roll band called 'The Shades', who were seen performing at a local club by J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson."

"Richardson offered Preston the chance to record a teenage tragedy song he had written, "Running Bear", which they did in Houston, Texas in 1958. The "Indian" sounds on the record were performed by Richardson and George Jones. The record was released after The Big Bopper's death in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. It entered the U.S. Hot 100 in October 1959, reaching number one in January 1960 and remaining there for three weeks. It was a transatlantic chart-topper, reaching #1 in the United Kingdom in March 1960. The sales of the record exceeded one million copies, earning Preston his first gold disc."

"Preston quickly followed up with another hit called "Cradle of Love," (Billboard #7, UK # 2) and made several other records during the early 1960s that met with modest success. "Cradle of Love" was a hit in both the UK Singles Chart and in Athens, Greece. Preston's "I'm Starting to Go Steady", a song on the flip side of "Feel So Fine", (Billboard #14), was released in June 1960. Preston made appearances on American Bandstand (ABC-TV) and The Milt Grant Show and also The Buddy Deane Show (East Coast, United States)."

"Preston's pioneering contribution to the genre was recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He also performed at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Missouri. In 2009, Preston performed at the Lamar State College, in his hometown."

"Preston had coronary artery bypass surgery in 2010. He died of heart failure in Beaumont, Texas on Friday, 4 March 2011, at the age of 71, after years of heart related illnesses."

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Johnny had an amazing talent and was always ready to help others wherever he could. He will be missed by many, many friends and fans. Johnny had been an entertainer for 55 years. He was born on August 18, 1939 in Port Arthur, Texas to John Preston Courville, Sr. and Margaret Schexnayder Courville. Johnny was a lifelong resident of this area and a member of Park Central Church of Christ.

Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at Park Central Church of Christ in Port Arthur with Mr. Jeremy Houck and Mr. Brian French officiating. A visitation for family and friends will be Monday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Levingston Funeral Home in Groves.

John is survived by his wife; Sharron Courville of Nederland, Tx., two daughters; Leslie Broussard and husband, Don of Nederland, Tx., and Lisa King and husband, Alan of LaBelle, Tx., two sons; Scott Courville and wife, Anne of LaBelle, Tx., and Michael Pittman and wife, Christi of Mauriceville, Tx., sister; Helen Christy of LaPlace, La., brother; Michael Courville and wife, Sally of Nederland, Tx., fourteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Lyn Breaux
 
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