If the name Johnny Dollar doesn’t sound familiar, don’t worry, you’re likely in the majority. It’s been well over fifty years since his lone hit, and well over thirty years since his last recordings. His name is virtually forgotten in the country music world.
Texas native Johnny Dollar had been recording since the 1950’s, with virtually no national success. He had released at least three singles on the D label, plus another on Winston, then left music in 1962. It was a 1964 encounter with Ray Price that got Johnny back into music, and a record contract with Columbia. His first single, “Tear Talk” would briefly chart, late in 1965. In Spring, 1966, his second and final release on Columbia became his only hit record.
“Stop The Start (Of Tears In My Heart)”, released in February, debuted on both Billboard and Cashbox country charts in March. The bouncy track began a slow, steady climb up both charts, remaining on both until June. On Billboard, Johnny peaked at number fifteen. He fared even better on Cashbox, where his single climbed into the top ten, peaking at nine for three weeks in early June.
Johnny Dollar charted six more times through 1970, while recording for Dot, Date, then Chart Records, but never came close to the top twenty, again. He continued to record through the early 1980’s, and produced several artists (including Little Jimmy Dickens). Johnny was forced to stop singing, due to a battle with throat cancer. Johnny died in April, 1986, taking his own life.
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, and focuses on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.