Johnny Jay, (aka John J. Huhta), was born in Duluth, MN on October 9th, 1934. Johnny played saxaphone in Jr. High and later took up banjo and guitar. At age 17 he had his first radio show on WEBC in Duluth with his band "The Sunnysiders".

When he was 18 he joined the army and served in Korea as a combat engineer. After the war ended he did a short stint with an entertainment troupe there. When he came back to the states, he landed in Montana where he had one of the songs recorded by "Smoky Mac and The Yellowstone Valley Boys".

When he got back home in 1956, he formed "The Shuffle Kings" with his younger twin brothers, Max and Mike and started playing night clubs in the midwest area. In '57, they made their way to Nashville, TN. Soon, they were on tour with Hawkshaw Hawkins and Jean Sheppard.

They met Ernest Tubb and he invited them to sing on his "Midnight Jamboree" on WSM. With Ernest's help, they met some music producers and publishers. Johnny signed with an independent producer who liked his songs and a record session was scheduled at RCA's studio "B". On board were the Jordanaires, Hank Garland, Hargus Robbins and other Nashville studio musucians.

Mercury Records acquired the masters and released "Tears" and "Sugar Doll" in the fall of 1957. In their November 18th, 1957 issue, Billboard Magazine picked these songs as potential hits in all three catagories, country, pop and rhythm and blues.

After Mercury, John recorded for other labels including, Play Records, Dek Records and he had the initial release for Pete Drakes Stop Records, "Buck $2.80", another self penned tune. Johnny collaborated with Dave Dudley to write Dave's 1972 hit, "It Takes Time".

Over the years, Johnny has shared the stage with Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynnette, Buddy Knox, Jim Reeves, Dave Dudley, Claude King, Wynn Stewert, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Jean Sheppard, Marvin Rainwater and many more.

Brothers, Mike and Max, are still active in music as are they're sons Tony and Mark, respectively. Mark Huhta is a Nashville singer-songwriter-publisher. John's oldest son Aaron is a talented blues singer and guitarist.

Johnny is still writing songs and performing occasionally and lives with his wife Pat on the Gull River near Brainerd, MN. He's a self taught artist and an avid fisherman.

Between he and Pat, they have 11 children, 27 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. A list of records and compilation albums can be found at " Rockin' Country Style".

Posted January, 2005

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