The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(George Tobin, JOHNNY CYMBAL)

Bang 558

No. 11   January 11, 1969




“Derek” was an alias briefly assumed by singer/song­ writer JOHNNY CYMBAL.   After his 1963 hit

“Mr. Bass Man,” Johnny recorded five years’ worth of flopped 45s, so he felt the need for a new,

untarnished, and heavily hip name to represent his case to the American people.   Yes, out of all the

silly pseudonyms in the world, “Derek” was chosen.


“I had just written ‘Mary in the Morning’ [a Top 40 hit for AI Martino];’ Johnny explained in an

exclusive interview.   “It was probably the most successful song I’ve ever written.   And I had this

deal to produce Gene Pitney and some other acts.   I did the vocals on ‘Cinna­mon; but I thought, I

can’t go out on the road and pro­duce these things at the same time.   So my brother, who’s really

named Derek and who was part of my band at the time, went out as me–he did the road work.   Hey,

there were three different touring versions of the Crystals, and two different versions of the

Drifters, so it seemed like a good idea to have two dif­ferent Dereks.”


“Cinnamon,” a self-penned bubblegum tune, out ­sold even “Mr. Bass Man,” but except for “Back

Door Man” (#59, 1969), future releases under the Derek per­sona bombed.


Reportedly, on March 13, 1993, Johnny died of a heart attack.