Johnny Leroy is a name that reverberates through music history like a bedpan bouncing off the walls of an elevator shaft.
The skiffle icon was born Pelham Grenville Leroy in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, to strict Amish parents. James Hugh Callum Leroy and Stephanie John Leroy's religious beliefs forbade the presence of a radio (or 'Satan's noise box') in the house, so the curious young PG Leroy would jog the 1,189 miles from Intercourse to New Orleans every Saturday morning to watch to the local jug blues bands.
By 1952, Johnny had adopted the name that would be come famous and moved to Cockfosters, England. Soon after arriving, he became a star in the local skiffle scene, mentoring the young Lonnie Donegan. He was soon signed with local recording label Sputz Records and his first self-titled LP went to the top of the Euro-Synth-Pop charts. This was a strategic move by his label, who figured they would face little competition in a genre that would not exist for another twenty-six years.
After the success of 'Self', Johnny formed a trio with local manure salesmen, Riley Maher and Tim Sampson. They were of simple minds and tastes, content with a bucket of dung and a copy of the Daily Mail as payment for their musical services. The band, known now as Johnny Leroy and the Impulsives, began their first national tour in 1956, on the heels of Leroy's second LP, 'There's Johnny Leroy'.
The tour kicked off in Cockfosters and from there visited Wetwang, Twatt, Titty Hill and Thong, as part of a government initiative to bring music to towns with embarrassing place names.
In 1961, the Johnny Leroy came to an abrupt halt, when the man himself was asphyxiated in a tragic yogurt accident. He continued to has posthumous success, as Sputz Records executives issued numerous singles culled from hours of unreleased studio tapes. The double A-side of 'Do You Think We Should Go For Another Take On That One, Jeff?' and 'Do You Mind Getting Me A Coffee From The Canteen?' spent six weeks at number seven in 1962.
Leroy never lived to see himself immortalized in the film of his life story 'Ginger: The Johnny Leroy Story' or the success British Invasion bands had with covers of his songs - in particular, the Rutles' smash hit version of 'Just Strum An A7 For A Bit So I Can Get The Levels'.