Juan Raul Davis Rodriguez, or better known with his stage name “Johnny” Rodriguez, is best known for integrating his roots into the heart of his songs. He is a Latin American outlaw country singer, and would often infuse his songs with that distinct Latin flare.
His career sprung about in a very unorthodox manner. He was discovered while he was jailed and he was just 18 years old! Rumors say that he was jailed because he was caught stealing and barbecuing a goat with his friends, but there are also claims that he was jailed only for an unpaid fine. Rodriguez was singing his blues away in the jailhouse while he was incarcerated, and it certainly impressed Texas Ranger, Joaquin Jackson – so much so that he introduced the young man to a promoter. The said promoter, Happy Shahan, hired Johnny to perform. Less than a year later, he got signed to his first record deal.
He is best known for his hits songs “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me,” “Desperado,” “Down on the Rio Grande,” and “Foolin.” Throughout his career, he has recorded six number one country hits.
Listen to “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me” here!
Watch Rodriguez perform his song “Desperado” here!
A whopping fifteen of his singles rose to the Billboard top ten, six of these were his #1 hits. The first of his singles to reach #1 was “Pass Me By.” The song raced through the country charts and officially put Rodriguez on the country music chart map. His song “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me” didn’t stop until it became the first of 11 consecutive #1 records, some of which he wrote or co-wrote.
In addition to his colorful musical career, he was also celebrated outside of the showbiz scene. Rodriguez has been honored by three U.S presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. The outlaw country singer played at George H.W. Bush’s inaugural ball.
He was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and he received the Pioneer Award from the Institute of Hispanic Culture in 2010.
Rodriguez’s contributions to the world have not gone unnoticed. And for that, we commemorate these as we greet him a happy and prosperous birthday!