Johnny Blowers provided the swinging backbeat for Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and many other luminaries. Born in Spartanburg in 1911, Blowers worked for a time at Alexander Music House, a downtown piano shop and music store.
In his mid-20s, he moved to New York, and in 1942 he played drums on a radio program that featured young, little known Frank Sinatra. After the show that day, Sinatra told Blowers, “We’ll work together again,” and they did: Blowers is the drummer on Sinatra classics “Night and Day,” “All of Me,” “I’ve Got A Crush On You” and more than 70 others. Blowers thrived as a session player and as a staff musician at CBS, NBC and ABC in television’s early days.
In the early 1960s, he became a radio host who interviewed Amstrong, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa and many others, and in 1986 he joined the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. He stayed with that group for two decades, staying until he was 94-years-old, a year before his 2006 death and winning applause and notice as the last surviving drummer of the great swing era.