Johnny Green

2018 - Out of State Artist

Johnny Green, originally Johnny Pavlik, started out on a farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin playing an accordion. His heroes at that time were Myron Floren and Lawrence Welk. As rock ‘n roll music began to become more popular he developed a taste for Elvis Presley and even Johnny Cash. 

Johnny Green’s rock n’ roll career started when he joined a group called Roscoe & the Green Men. It was a band that originated in the late 1950s with Ron "Roscoe" Lininger in Ohio. In the early 1960s, Dennis Stukenborg and the late Dave (D.D.) Douds brought the band to Minnesota. The early ‘60s were marked by an emergence of zany acts. The crazier the act, the more likely a group was to get attention - this was especially important if the group wanted national recognition. The Green Men competed with lots of other zanies, many of whom became recognized by a color.

Johnny formed his first professional band, The Royal Lancers, in 1957. Unfortunately The Lancers did not want to tour in the early ‘60s and as a result Johnny joined The Green Men. Soon after that, he changed his last name to from Pavlik to Green and led the group. For close to six decades The Green Men traveled the world doing shows highlighting magic, comedy, and even a fire-eating act.

Johnny Green took many trips into the Midwest, including the state of Iowa where they performed 10 times at the Roof Garden in Arnolds Park. Johnny also shared the stages across the world with acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and a whole list of “Who’s Who” in the music entertainment business.

One of his more notable accomplishments, however, was his connection to the famous Batman TV show. Legend has it that the bottom lines of the Batman song belonged to Johnny Green. “I was invited to play bass in studio sessions with composer Neil Hefti and conductor Billy May to produce the Batman TV theme song.  Their aim was for something different than they had been working on—Billy May was looking for something “raunchy".  When you work for 20th Century Fox, it’s like working for Ford—your ideas are owned by the company.  Neal Hefti was the composer of the Batman theme, but like most hits, it was an ensemble effort.  The Batman theme won a 1966 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Theme.”

Johnny says the Batman experience was a riot. “We enjoyed being a part of the show. Our trucks have been decorated with Batman logos, and we have Batman banners on our stage. I still have our original scripts, many negatives and other things that were given to me. To this day, nearly every one of our performances include our version of the Batman theme. We plan to record it someday.”

Johnny Green is truly a legend that we welcome into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

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