Pop Archives

Johnny Devlin & The Devils - Gigolo (1960)

(Mitchell Torok)
Australia Australia
#16 Sydney #25 Melbourne #19 Adelaide

Single on Teen label.

An earlier, faster version appeared on the EP Johnny Devlin Sings.

Johnny Devlin (b. 1938 in Raetihi) was a New Zealander who had been a pioneering rock'n'roll star in his home country. Devlin's New Zealand success was in covering American rock'n'roll, and his repertoire included a range of astutely chosen covers, many away from the mainstream. However, most of his charting Australian records were originals, usually written or co-written by himself.

Johnny Devlin had sixteen songs on the Sydney charts alone 1959-1965. His biggest hits were:

  • Turn The Lights Out Johnny (1959, #3 Sydney, #27 Melbourne, #2 Adelaide), an original rocker by Devlin;
  • the novelty Got A Zack In The Back Of My Pocket (1960, #7 Sydney, #19 Brisbane, #8 Adelaide), written by Nat Kipner, (a zack was a sixpenny piece); and
  • Stomp The Tumbarumba (1963, #5 Sydney, #5 Brisbane), by Devlin, a surf craze song that seems to refer to an inland New South Wales town.

As a songwriter, Johnny Devlin's credits also include:

  • Patsy Ann NobleGood Looking Boy (1961, #16 Sydney #6 Melbourne #13 Brisbane #8 Adelaide);
  • Digger Revell & The DenvermenMy Little Rocker's Turned Surfie (1964, #9 Sydney, #16 Brisbane); and
  • Digger Revell's DenvermenSurfside, written with Nat Kipner (1963, #1 Sydney, #6 Melbourne).

Johnny Devlin also produced The CicadasThat's What I Want (1964).

Johnny Devlin's Devils also recorded in their own right: see their charting single Teen Beat.

References, further reading: 1. For the full flavour of Johnny Devlin mania from a New Zealand perspective, Bruce Sergent's account is indespensable. 2. Jason Ankeny's article at All Music Guide also captures the essence of the Johnny Devlin phenomenon.

Additional details from Tony Watson and Terry Stacey, thanks.

Mitchell Torok - Gigolo (1953)

(Mitchell Torok)
Original version

Single on Abbott Label, #105.

Country singer-songwriter Mitchell Torok (b. 1929 in Houston) wrote for a number of artists, notably Jim Reeves who had a hit with Torok’s Mexican Joe.

Torok himself made the mainstream USA charts with Pledge Of Love (1957) and Caribbean (1959). He toured the UK where he charted with When Mexico Gave Up The Rhumba (1956) and Red Light Green Light (1957).

There are biographies of Mitchell Torok at Hillbilly-Music.com, BBC Essex and The Official Community of Buddy Holly (he toured with Buddy Holly).

Original identified by Tony Watson.