Johnny P. Stevens

  • 2009 Heritage Award, African Nova Scotian Music Association Award Show (ANSMA)

Johnny was born in Bridgetown, N.S. on September 1, 1938, the youngest beloved son of the late Rev. Harry and Vera (Owens) Stevens, dear son-in-law of the late Danny & Peggy Palmer. Johnny moved to London with his parents in 1957. He worked at Kemp Plastics, Hunt’s Bakery, Bellnoll Bakery, Dominion Stores, Food Services/ Commasary, University of Western Ontario, Johnny Stevens Bakery and as a salesman for Disbrowe Motors. He was a Past President of the St. Thomas Optimist Club and was the M.C. for the Easter Seals Telethon for many years.

Johnny sang all his life and was in a number of many groups, including the DynaTones, formed in the 1950’s (which consisted of his brother, Andrew Stevens, Bernie Talbot (from Guysborough, NS), Mike Skironski (from St. Thomas, ON), Johnny Stevens and the Canadians and his last Group - Raisin’ Cain.

Johnny Stevens was one of the good ones - a pillar of the London, Ontario region music community, a doer of good deeds. Stevens was a star on the London scene in the 1960’s. One of the bands was Johnny Stevens and his Sextet - also known as Johnny & the Canadians. They were busy in the 1964, 1965 and 1966 sharing the bill with the British Invasion popsters the Dave Clark Five at a concert on November 3, 1964 at the old Treasure Island Gardens (later the Ice House), recording in New York, earning $1,100 a week at Campbells and playing shindigs at the old London, ON arena.

Johnny sang pop, R&B, rock and gospel over the decades and faced racial discrimination in the U.S. from promoters who didn’t like a black man fronting a band.

In the 1960’s the Sextet was on a bill with the Supremes and much, much later, Stevens sang for Prime Minister Jean Chretien. He last sang for the public at a London, ON church in October, 2007.