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Celebrated Musician Johnny Rivers Brings Stream Of Hits To Wilkes-Barre

November 28, 2018

The voice behind hits such as “The Tracks of My Tears” and “Secret Agent Man” will fill F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts with his beloved songs this weekend.

Johnny Rivers, who has sold more than 30 million records during his decades-long career, will perform at the downtown Wilkes-Barre venue on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6.

The audience can expect to hear many of Rivers’ greatest hits, which also include “Memphis,” “Poor Side of Town,” “Summer Rain” and “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” Rivers promised recently by phone from Los Angeles, where he lives. He said he updates the arrangements to keep them fresh and hopes the audience will “have a good time and enjoy the show.”

“We throw in some album cuts from different albums,” Rivers said, adding that he also does an acoustic set in the middle of the show. “It’s fun. People enjoy it. It’s very intimate.”

Born Johnny Ramistella in New York City, Rivers grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and started his professional playing career at 14. He returned to New York City the next year, scored a record deal and changed his name to Rivers. He released “Memphis,” which became his first No. 1 single, in 1964, and numerous hits followed. Since then, he’s racked up 17 gold records.

Many of his tunes have endured through the years because they’re just good songs, Rivers said.

“And a lot of them are very blues-oriented and stuff, which is my roots,” he added.

While he doesn’t write many songs any more, he does continue to put pen to paper, noting that he puts a lot of time into a song when he does compose and produces it himself. And Rivers can take inspiration from anything, he added, from an article read or his children and grandchildren.

Rivers continues to tour, too, although he’s abandoned long bus trips for weekend gigs.

“It’s just what I do,” he said. “I’m still healthy, and I can still hit the notes, and my voice is still good. As long as I can still do it and hit the notes, I’m going to keep doing it.”

Contact the writer:

cwest@timesshamrock.com;

570-348-9100 x5107;

@cheaneywest on Twitter

If you go

What: Johnny Rivers

Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre

When: Sunday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6

Details: Tickets cost $55.50, $63.50, $69.50 and $85, plus fees, and are available at the box office, kirbycenter.org and by calling 570-826-1100.

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