John Fred and his Playboy Band was a pop and blue-eyed soul group led by John Fred Gourrier (1941-2005). John Fred and His Playboy Band scored their only major hit single “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” in during the late 60s music era and now an oldies music classic. After his Playboy Band, John Fred continued to perform and record on his own, and coached several basketball and baseball teams (he was a baseball player while he was in college), hosting a popular show on the local radio and played in gigs and concerts in and around Louisiana. He died in 2005, but his song will be forever an oldies music classic.
John Fred Gourrier was also known by his stage name John Fred born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 8, 1941. In 1956 he formed the band when he was just 15, also in Baton Rouge. The band used to be called as John Fred and the Playboys.
By the mid-1960s he had changed the band’s name into John Fred and His Playboy to avoid confusion with Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Fred and his fellow band member Andrew Bernard wrote “Judy in Disguise.” The title of the song was a play on the Beatles’ “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” When “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” was released as a single by Louisiana-based Jewel Records on the Paula label, it managed to dislodge another Beatles song “Hello Goodbye” off the #1 spot on the pop chart in 1968.
However, they never made another major hit song again, and after “Hey, Hey Bunny” only registered at #57 the Playboy Band never again entered the Hot 100 any longer, making them a one hit wonder.
A lengthy legal battle ensued over the rights and ownership of “Judy in Disguise.” In the end, Fred won the rights of the song, as well as its royalties.
Fred’s later life
Fred continued to perform as well coach for high school and basketball teams (he used to be a varsity player when he was younger). He issued is final album Somebody’s Knockin‘, in 2002.
Failing health led to Fred’s death at age 63, on April 14, 2005 in New Orleans. In 2007 he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.