Singer John Carter dead at 75

August 21, 2009 8:49:30 PM PDT
A legendary Chicago area singer who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice has died. Johnny Carter died of lung cancer at a Harvey hospital on Friday morning. He was 75.

As a member of both The Flamingos and The Dells, Carter sang on more than 50 songs that made the top 40 list.

It's been said of Johnny Carter that he could open a refrigerator door and as soon as the light came on, he would start singing. Carter was the tenor lead of The Dells, four talented young guys from Harvey, who were joined by Johnny from the South Side in 1961. And they would go on to pop greatness with songs "Stay in My Corner" and "Oh What a Night." He had a falsetto universally admired by many artists.

"Johnny Carter was second to none. In my opinion, The Dells' opinion, and the opinion of many, many people around the world, he was the greatest tenor in the world," said Chuck Barksdale, Member of The Dells.

The Dells were like brothers. Through 58 years of performing, they never split up.

"The Dells said, 'that's not gonna happen to us. We're gonna go up together and go down together so they stayed together," said Herb Kent, longtime radio personality.

Five years ago, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Johnny Carter's first group, The Flamingos, was inducted a few years before that making Carter one of a select group of artists with Hall of Fame honors twice.

"This guy was phenomenal. Seventy-five years old when he passed, he missed nothing. He got it all, whatever 'all' was, he got that, "said Barksdale.

Johnny Carter died on Friday morning from lung cancer. But even in his final days, he was singing to the doctors, nurses and patients in the hospital. That light was always on.

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