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Sammy Johns Dead: ‘Chevy Van’ Singer Dies at 66

Sammy Johns has died of unknown causes at the age of 66. The North Carolina native was best known for his 1975 hit, “Chevy Van,” which sold three million copies and was dubbed the “Song of the Seventies” by Rolling Stone magazine. The tune pushed musical boundaries at the time, as its lyrics tell the story of a one-night stand, but it was embraced by pop and country fans alike.

Johns was playing guitar by age 9 and formed his own band, the Devilles, as a teenager. He scored his first solo record deal in 1973, releasing his self-titled debut album that same year.

While “Chevy Van” was Johns’ only big hit as a solo artist, he scored major songwriting success with other artists, most notably penning the classic “America,” recorded by Waylon Jennings, “Common Man” by John Conlee and “Desperado Love” for Conway Twitty. The latest album in Johns’ own discography was 2000′s Honky Tonk Moon.

Johns died Friday, Jan. 4, at a hospital in Gaston, N.C. His funeral services will be held Wednesday (Jan. 9) in nearby Belmont.

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