The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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Don & Juan


(Claude “JUAN” Johnson)

Big Top 3079

No. 7    March 17, 1962




Claude Johnson, Alexander “Buddy” Faison, Bill Gains, Roy Hammond and Fred Jones were [[high school]]

boardwalk  buddies from Brooklyn who got together in Long Beach, Long Island in 1956.   If there was

justice in the music world these guys cut what should have been a monster hit.   It was the spring of  1959,

they were the Genies, and “Who’s That Knocking,” a fine, fine number that promised to be their proverbial

master moment in the sun, inexplicably stalled at the number 71 slot on Billboard’s Hot 100.   Shad Records

shed them like a hound with fleas–with no follow-up 45 , though subsequent outings for Hollywood Records

and Warwick were likewise unsuccessful.


Three years later, Genies’ lead vocalist Claude and Roland Trone were working as house painters in an

apartment building, singing as they slapped paint.   A tenant with a refined ear told a friend,  agent Peter

Paul, about the duo, and once again, it looked like Claude Johnson would have another shot at a bit time

musical career.   Paul piqued Big Top Records’ owners Gene and Julian Aberbach, who also ran Hill and

Range Publishing and a subsidary label, Dunes.   One of the earliest tunes laid out in the recording studio

was this number Claude had been developing.  “It was common back then,” Claude Johnson told Chicago

Sun-Times  writer Dave Hoekstra, “for everybody to ask ‘What’s your name?’   And there was a girl I used to

see  in a grocery store that I wanted  to meet. Finally, I told her I had seen her all the time and wanted to

know, ‘What’s your name?’  The idea just stuck with me.”


This time, Claude (“Juan”) saw his deserving record rocket into the ozone.  “Magic Wand,” the follow-up,

peaked at number 91 in 1962,  and  that was it, even though 18 Don & Juan singles were released before the

twosome called it quits in 1967.   An interesting commercial failure was their “True Love Never Runs

Smooth,” a Burt Bacharch tune offered them prior to Gene Pitney success with  it.


Roland Trone died in 1982.  Claude Johnson, reportedly was back on the road again, touring with a new

“Don’s”–sometimes  Shorty Rogers of the Paragons; otherwise “Buddy” Faison, formerly a member of

Claude’s earlier group, the Genies.