Birth name: John Hendry Blair
Born: February 3, 1945
Ochiltree, Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: March 16, 1993 (aged 48)
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Occupation(s): Singer, Songwriter, Record producer
Years active: 1960s-1980s
Labels: MGM, Capitol, Kapp, DCP, Chelsea, Columbia, Amaret
Johnny Cymbal (born John Hendry Blair; February 3, 1945 – March 16, 1993) was a Scottish-born American songwriter, singer, and record producer who had numerous hit records, including his signature song, "Mr. Bass Man".
During a career that spanned four decades, Cymbal made an impact on popular music worldwide as a songwriter, singer, performer and record producer. During those years, in addition to his rock and roll anthem, "Mr. Bass Man", he was responsible for hit records including: "Teenage Heaven", "Cinnamon", "Mary In The Morning", "Rock Me Baby" and "I'm Drinking Canada Dry".
In 1963, with the hit "Mr. Bass Man", Cymbal was recognized as a teen star. While continuing to record, he toured the US, Europe and Japan performing as both a solo headlining act and in rock and roll package shows. Later, as a songwriter and record producer, he found success in New York City, Los Angeles and Nashville. Cymbal thought of himself as a songwriter; throughout his life he kept diaries of ideas and notes for future use. Though he was an excellent vocalist with a wonderful stage presence, he believed his greatest talent was composing. By 1966, having married and started a family, he no longer wished to be on the road as a performer so he committed himself to songwriting. Thereafter, although he continued to make records as a singer throughout his career, most of those recordings were released with the names of others (such as his brother, Derek) or pseudonymic "groups" as the artist.
A prolific composer, Cymbal published over 200 songs. During his career he wrote alone and with many partners, including: CMA Hall Of Famer Charlie Black; Austin Roberts of "I.O.U." fame; Mark Sameth; multiple CMA award winner Gene Pistilli; legendary Nashville writer David Malloy; Bill Holmes, Peggy Clinger; and with Michael Rashkow as his co-writer, he penned the 10,000,000+ seller and BMI Million Performance Award Winner, "Mary In The Morning." With that song, John attained a lifetime ambition - to have one of his compositions recorded by Elvis Presley. George Tobin who together with Cymbal wrote and produced Cinnamon his biggest pop production. George Tobin was a staff producer for Musicor Records and he and Cymbal formed a writing and production partnership that lasted for 5 years and included the Gene Pitney UK hit Somewhere in the Country and all of the California-based production during that period. As a staff producer for A&M Records Tobin signed and produced all of his A&M releases. As a singer, Cymbal had releases on numerous labels, including MGM, Columbia, Musicor, Kapp, Roulette, Bang, Curb, and Scepter. His recording pseudonyms included "Brother John", "Derek", "The Eye-Full Tower", "Dallas" and "The Non-Conformists", among many others.