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Digital Subscriptions > Vintage Rock > Sep/Oct 2019 > SLEEPING GIANTS


”Sleep Walk is not just a song,” insists 78-year-old Johnny Farina. “In my house it’s a shrine.” One half of sibling instrumentalists Santo & Johnny takes us back to their No.1 smash six decades on

This is the story of two brothers from Brooklyn, New York; Santo, born 24 October, 1937, and younger brother Johnny, who was born on 30 April, 1941. In 1959, they created and recorded a song that’s been used in countless movies, international commercials and other projects, and its popularity shows no signs of letting up. Johnny, who currently presides over a Manhattan-based record company, Aniraf Inc, says he still averages three weekly requests from people wanting to license Sleep Walk.

It’s been recorded or performed by the likes of Eric Clapton, The Shadows, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, James Burton and Les Paul. In 1998, Stray Cats leader Brian Setzer won an American Grammy award for Best Instrumental Pop Performance with the song, which has also been considered an inspiration for Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross, The Beatles’ Sun King, and John Lennon’s Free As A Bird.

After Santo & Johnny’s American hits trailed off in the early 60s, their popularity only started growing internationally. In Mexico, their 1965 rendition of The Beatles’ And I Love Her topped the charts for an incredible 22 straight weeks. Recalls Johnny, “We had just landed there and were waiting for the other passengers to get off the plane. When I looked out the window, in the pouring rain were literally hundreds of people. I said to Santo, ‘There must be somebody really famous on the plane.’ I’m thinking, ‘Maybe The Beatles.’ So we exit the plane, and all of a sudden I hear our record being played, and people are screaming for us. I said, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable!’”

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About Vintage Rock

In this issue of Vintage Rock we enter the riotous world of Wanda Jackson. She's finally just hung up her touring boots this year aged 81, so we decided it was time to honour the Queen Of Rockabilly's tenure at the top from her incredible rise to glory as both a country and rockabilly star to her greatest ever performances – "It's been a wild ride!" Little Miss Dynamite goes out with a bang! We got the exclusive on Brenda Jackson's retirement too! In our candid interview Brenda remembers her spectacular career, from rubbing shoulders with Elvis to surviving the British Invasion intact. It's been 60 years since the storming debut album that positioned Cliff Richard as the UK's own Elvis – with The Drifters in support – we remember a raw classic. It's also been 60 years since rock'n'roll was hit with it's first major scandal. Inside we get to the bottom of the infamous 'Payola Scandal', the real rock'n'roll swindle in which the scene's major players had to face the music. From villains to heroes, we talk to Memphis Mafia man Jerry Schilling about his days with Elvis and the upcoming 'Elvis In Concert' tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, plus we speak to instrumental hero Johnny Farina, one half of duo Santo & Johnny, about their timeless hit 'Sleepwalk'. Bringing things up to date, we chat with Darrel Higham about his new album Bop Machine, we met Nick Lowe, who tells about his new project with masked marauders Los Straitjackets, and we review Stray Cats long-awaited return to the London stage – and what a night it was! Plenty more besides from fresh talent and rockin' weekenders to news, reviews and more!