Santo & Johnny
(Read about Santo & Johnny after the video)
Santo & Johnny were an American rock and roll music duo from Brooklyn, New York, comprising brothers Santo and Johnny Farina.
They are known best for their instrumental melody "Sleep Walk", one of the biggest hits of the golden age of rock 'n' roll, which became a regional success and eventually scored the top of the Billboard pop chart when it was released nationally during 1959.
At present, Santo is semi-retired and Johnny currently tours and records new material with his own band. Johnny is also the president of Aniraf, Inc., an international record company based in New York City.
Santo Anthony Farina and John Steven Farina were born in Brooklyn, New York to Anthony and Josephine Farina: Santo on October 24, 1937 and Johnny on April 30, 1941. Their father was drafted into the Army while they were children and was stationed for some time in Oklahoma. After hearing a steel guitar by radio, he wrote to his wife, "I'd like the boys to learn to play this instrument".
Upon returning from World War II, the boys' father found a music teacher who gave the boys steel guitar lessons. When Santo was a teenager, he was able to get a local music store to modify an acoustic guitar, allowing him to play it like a steel guitar.
Within two years, Santo was performing in amateur shows using a new Gibson six-string steel guitar and had started receiving lessons from a steel guitar teacher who had studied in Hawaii. By the age of fourteen, Santo was composing songs, and formed an instrumental trio with a guitarist and drummer. This trio appeared at local dances and parties, performing both original compositions and some Hawaiian standards. With money Santo made from these performances, he bought a Fender steel guitar, one with three necks, each with eight strings. This allowed him to experiment even more, and he tried different tunings until he found ones that appealed to him.
When Johnny reached the age of twelve, he began to play accompaniment to Santo on a standard electric guitar. The brothers soon formed a duo and became rather popular in school, eventually performing at events in the New York boroughs. They recorded a demonstration which they circulated to local New York record companies.
When Johnny turned 16, he told their father that they'd be quitting school to pursue a career as "rock stars," to which their father responded "The only stars are in the sky."
The brothers wrote a song one night when they "couldn't sleep after playing a gig, and started jamming." The song was "Sleep Walk" and during September 1959 it scored at the top of the American charts.
The brothers eventually came to the attention of a music publishing company and signed a song writer's contract and eventually landed a recording contract with Canadian-American Records. Their first release, "Sleep Walk", was composed by the two brothers plus Santo's wife, Ann. "Sleep Walk" was recorded at Trinity Records in Manhattan. It reached Billboard magazine's No. 1 position for two weeks during September 1959, and earned Santo & Johnny a Gold record. The follow-up song "Tear Drop" was also a successful, though their long-playing (LP) record Santo & Johnny was less successful in the United States.
In 1979, Santo Farina co-wrote a song with Lisa Ratner called "Kiss Me In The Rain," which Barbra Streisand covered on her album Wet.
"Sleep Walk" continues to be popular due to consistent radio airplay as well as its usage for commercials, television programs, and movies. Santo & Johnny were inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2002.
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