Big John Greer

John Marshall "Big John" Greer (November 21, 1923 – May 12, 1972) was an American blues tenor saxophonist and vocalist, best known for his recordings from 1948 to 1956, which included "Got You on My Mind" and "Bottle It Up and Go".

Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States, Greer was a friend of Henry Glover from childhood, and both attended college at Alabama A&M together. Glover was playing in Lucky Millinder's band when Bull Moose Jackson left the group in 1948; Glover suggested that Greer be chosen as Jackson's replacement. Greer played with Bob Shad and appeared on Millinder's RCA recordings until 1950, when Millinder signed to King Records. Greer stayed with RCA and played with Wynonie Harris and Jackson among others. He sang lead vocals on his biggest hit, recorded in October 1951 "Got You On My Mind". In 1953, he switched to Groove Records, but did not make much impact on the American record charts there. In August 1954, he released "We Wanna See Santa Claus Do The Mambo", a Christmas hit to this day. In 1956, he finally signed with King, but only recorded for them for about a year. Greer also worked with Hal Singer and Bill Doggett.

By 1957, Greer had developed extended troubles with alcoholism, and he moved back to his home town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he died in 1972 at age 48.

Birth and Death Data: Born November 21, 1923 (Hot Springs), Died May 12, 1972

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1949 - 1951

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, saxophone, leader, composer, songwriter

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor E0VB-3088 10-in. 1/12/1950 A fool hasn't got a chance Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone, leader  
Victor E0VB-3089 10-in. 1/12/1950 Rocking Jenny Jones Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, leader, instrumentalist, saxophone  
Victor E0VB-3090 10-in. 1/12/1950 I'll never do that again Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone, leader  
Victor E0VB-3091 10-in. 1/12/1950 I've just found love Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, leader, instrumentalist, saxophone, composer  
Victor E0VB-4895 10-in. 7/6/1950 Big John's a blowin' Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Jazz/dance band composer, instrumentalist, saxophone  
Victor E0VB-4897 10-in. 7/6/1950 Red juice Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor E0VB-4898 10-in. 7/6/1950 It's better to be taken for granted (than never to be taken at all) Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, songwriter  
Victor E0VB-6247 10-in. 12/6/1950 Once there lived a fool Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor E0VB-6248 10-in. 12/6/1950 Why did you go? Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Vocal trio, with jazz/dance band composer, leader  
Victor E0VB-6249 10-in. 12/6/1950 Our wedding tune Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Female-male vocal duet, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor E0VB-6250 10-in. 12/6/1950 I want ya', I need ya' Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, songwriter  
Victor E1VB-1754 10-in. 4/12/1951 How can you forget Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, composer, instrumentalist, saxophone  
Victor E1VB-1755 10-in. 4/12/1951 Clambake boogie Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone, leader  
Victor E1VB-1756 10-in. 4/12/1951 When you love (you should love from the heart) Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone, leader  
Victor D9VB-1251 10-in. 4/8/1949 Drinkin' wine, spo-dee-o-dee Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone  
Victor D9VB-1252 10-in. 4/8/1949 Long tall gal Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone  
Victor D9VB-1253 10-in. 4/8/1949 I found a dream Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist, instrumentalist, saxophone  
Victor D9VB-1753 10-in. 6/27/1949 Big rock Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, saxophone, composer  
Victor D9VB-1754 10-in. 6/27/1949 If I told you once (I told you a thousand times) Big John Greer ; The Rhythm Rockers (Big John Greer) Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Greer, Big John," accessed December 3, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/355356.

Greer, Big John. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/355356.

"Greer, Big John." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 3 December 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/355356

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