Born in North Carolina in March of 1929 (or 1931) Betty Johnson made her professional debut as a member of a group that included her parents and siblings. The Johnson Family Singers was signed up to sing on a local radio station and by 1948 Betty had obtained her own programme, in which she performed as a solo artist.
Betty’s early career as a recording artist was not a particularly successful one although she did get to work with Eddy Arnold, who was on his way to becoming one of America’s most prolific country singers. This association led to Betty being signed to RCA Victor Records, which meant that she had to relocate to Chicago.
It was while she was in Chicago that Betty released what was to become her biggest single, “I Dreamed”. “I Dreamed” was released on Bally Records, a small label. The single entered Billboard’s pop chart in late November of 1956 and reached its apex at No.9.
A cover of “Little White Lies” achieved only moderate success for her in 1957. This might have been due to the fact that the song had already been atop the hit parade in 1930 and had subsequently performed almost as admirably for Dick Haymes in 1948. Then again, listeners might not have appreciated this popular tune being sung in the style of rock.
In 1958 Betty’s last release of any significance was her recording of the novelty number, “The Little Blue Man”. While it barely entered the Top 20, the recording developed something of a cult following and remained on the chart for four months.
As a child, I loved “The Little Blue” at the time of its release and could not understand why my mother did not share my zeal. Perhaps forty years passed before I was to hear it again and had to admit to myself that it was one recording for which my adoration had all but evaporated. Another thing that struck me was just how much Betty Johnson sounded like the infinitely more popular Doris Day.