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Sammy Johns of "Chevy Van" fame dies

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 – Sammy Johns, best known for the hit Chevy Van, died Friday at a Gastonia, N.C., hospital at 66.

Born in Charlotte, N.C. on Feb. 7, 1946, Johns received a guitar from his father when he was nine. He recorded with a band the Devilles, which released several songs on the Dixie label. He received a record deal in 1973 with General Recording Corp. putting out his first solo record, "Early Morning Love," that same year.

Johns achieved national success in 1975 when the song became a Top 10 pop hit and reached number 6 on Billboard's country songs chart. Chevy Van stayed on the chart for 17 weeks and went Gold. Waylon Jennings and Sammy Kershaw later covered the song.

Johns later inked a deal with Warner-Curb. He also scored two number one country singles as a writer - John Conlee's Common Man in 1983 and Conway Twitty's Desperado Love in 1986, Twitty's last chart topper.

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