Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
PRESTON, Johnny(b Johnny Preston Courville, 1939; d 4 March 2011 in Beaumont TX) Country-pop singer who had one big hit. He spent most of his life in Port Arthur, Janis Joplin's home town. He first performed in a group called the Shades at Lamar University in Beaumont in 1957, and was discovered by the disc jockey, songwriter and performer and singer J. P. Richardson, also known as the Big Bopper. Richardson wrote “Running Bear", which told the story of an ill-fated romance between Running Bear, an “Indian brave", and Little White Dove, an “Indian maid". It was a no. 1 Billboard hit in 1960 for Preston the year after Richardson died in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Preston’s follow-up single, “Cradle of Love", also reached the top 10.