Johnny Crawford was a television star as a child and had a brief, successful recording career in the 60's. He even managed to crack the top twenty three times in 1962.
He was born in Los Angeles in 1946. Crawford was a mouseketeer with The Mickey Mouse Club during the 1955-1956 season. As one of the few ten-year-olds in Los Angeles with film experience, he began to audition for other roles and in 1958 became a regular on The Rifleman TV series on ABC. Johnny played the son of series star Chuck Connors, Mark McCain, throughout the run of the show. His name and face became quite well known nationally through his exposure on television.
In 1961 he signed with Del-Fi Records in Los Angeles, the label that had produced hits by Ritchie Valens, Little Caesar and the Romans, and others. Johnny Crawford had a minor hit that year with Daydreams. His boyish smile was quite popular with teenage girls.
In 1962 Crawford had a string of pop hits, beginning with Cindy's Birthday, and continuing with Your Nose Is Gonna Grow, and Rumors. The first of these was written by Jeff Hooven and Hal Winn and went to number eight on the charts that summer. Crawford's last top forty hit was Proud in early 1963.
In 1963 his career as a pop music star began to fade in the wake of the British Invasion, and the five-year run of The Rifleman ended. It was time for Johnny Crawford to move on to other things. He appeared in some movies and a number of television shows, including Branded, Mr. Ed, Rawhide, Hawaii Five-O, and Murder, She Wrote. He became a rodeo performer for a time, and spent two years in the Army.
Crawford enjoys performing, and he enjoys music. In 1990 he formed the Los Angeles-based Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra, a 16-piece orchestra that specializes in 1920's swing music. The group has performed at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles and the Fremont in Las Vegas, among other places.
Johnny Crawford is best remembered by fans of 1960's pop music for his fine top ten hit from 1962, Cindy's Birthday.
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