Buckeye Beat

Bands and Performers
About the site
Contact Us

Johnny Holiday / Dew Watson

Hillsboro, 1963 - 1992

Johnny Holiday was a singer with a powerful voice who could belt out James Brown or Jackie Wilson style effortlessly - his tag was "Mr. Excitement".

Johnny Holiday recorded several 45s on WAM, Airtown, and Bold, using local rock-n-roll musicians for backing. The 45 on WAM is an excellent garage shouter. His later 45s, backed by a band called Guardrail, sounded more in the funk style. 

Johnny's real name is Donald Watson. He grew up in Hillsboro, but started playing the Younsgtown area circuit around 1963. He worked in that area until the late 1960s but returned to his SW Ohio home, particulary to record the Airtown 45. He came back to the NE Ohio scene and was based in Massilon when he recorded/played with Guardrail. 

In 1992, with the help of former Cellmates drummer Nick Puin, he cut what seems to be his final recordings, an LP and 45 in a contemporary country style. These were released under his new 'nom de plume', Dew Waston. "Dew" is his initials (Donald E. Watson).

When contacted about his recordings and career, Donald was not interested in talking about his past. His ads mentioned records and record labels that never seem to have existed. Among the record labels he mentioned as recording for were Castle (c. 1963), Domino (c. 1966), and Aquarius (c. 1977), none of which can be found. He also claimed to have done national tours with big names (Beach Boys for one), and playing in Las Vegas. No confirmation of those events can be made, either.

Johnny/Donald is not related to Johnny Holiday, the Cleveland DJ.