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Genres You Will Love
Folk: Alternative Folk Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Acoustic Pop: 70's Pop Rock: Acoustic

By Location
United States - Oregon United States - California - LA

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John Batdorf

In 1967, gifted teenage singer-songwriter, John Batdorf, broke free from his Middle American upbringing and ventured to Los Angeles, crammed in a Lincoln Continental with six of his friends, to pursue his musical aspirations. Four decades later, the dream machine is long gone, but John is still on the path, navigating the curves of his musical journey with aplomb.

Along the way, John’s gotten to work with many of the cornerstone figures of the music business as an artist, garnered cult status as a classic folk-rock singer-songwriter, and reinvented himself as a successful film and TV composer, session vocalist, and inspirational musician in the substance recovery community.

In the last decade, he’s returned to being an artist: reinvigorated not only by revisiting his canon classics, but by writing fresh, broadly resonate music on par with his beloved back catalog.

“Music is just what I do, I don’t know anything else,” the now Central Oregon-based artist says with a good-natured laugh. “There have been so many powerful moments for me. I remember one time performing my contemporary song ‘All for You’ which is about a soldier who in battle realizes he couldn’t win and just asks that his country remembers him. After that show, an older couple hung around to say hello. Their son had died in December of 1970, in Laos during the Vietnam War, and they wanted me to have his government issued commemorative bracelet. That moment reminded me: I’m never done with music because you never know who needs to hear the next song you’re going to write.”

Batdorf & Rodney | Off The Shelf
batdorf rodney
off the shelf
John’s breakthrough moment came as a part of the folk-rock duo, Batdorf & Rodney, alongside acoustic guitar whiz and harmony partner Mark Rodney (son of the great jazz trumpeter Red Rodney who played with Charlie Parker). John was the pair’s primary songwriter and singer, and his balmy musicality and tenderly uplifting lyrics fit right in alongside 1970s Laurel Canyon scene artists such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jackson Brown, the Eagles, and Joni Mitchell. Batdorf & Rodney had the distinction of being recorded by visionaries such as Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, and Clive Davis. The twosome played Carnegie Hall and toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada, sharing the stages with such esteemed artists as America, Seals and Crofts, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Bread, The Youngbloods, Hall and Oates, Cheech and Chong, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Pure Prairie League, Harry Chapin, John Prine, Dave Mason, and Kris Kristofferson, among many others. In its four year run, Batdorf & Rodney released three albums. The group’s debut, Off The Shelf (Atlantic), was released when Batdorf was barely 19 and features backing courtesy of the legendary Muscle Shoals backing musician collective, recently immortalized in 2013 with their own documentary. In May of 2011, Batdorf & Rodney were elected into the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Silver | John Batdorf
Unfortunately, after their third release, Life Is You, in late 1975, Batdorf & Rodney buckled under personal and business strains of being a band “on the verge” but not quite realizing its expected commercial potential. After the break up, John formed the band Silver, composed of Brent Mydland (later a member of the Grateful Dead), Harry Stinson, Tom Leadon and Greg Collier. The band released one album on Arista Records which included the smash hit “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang,” but broke up after a year due to different philosophies in music direction with the label.

Touched By an Angel | John Batdorf
Touched By An Angel
Whereas many musicians who faced similar fates jumped into an abyss of toxicity and bitterness, John found his artistic intuition and his gift for melody highly valued in the studio as a staff songwriter, a TV composer, and a session singer. He wrote songs for such respected artists as Kim Carnes, America, and England Dan Seals, among others. John composed score and source music for many TV shows including the CBS drama Promised Land starring Gerald McRaney, PAX TV’s Book of Days, and the CBS supernatural drama Touched By An Angel. As a session vocalist, he appears on numerous of jingles, movies and TV shows, including main titles to TV shows such as Tom and Jerry Kids, Garfield and Friends, Promised Land, and Doctor, Doctor.

He’s sessioned on albums by Rod Stewart, Dave Mason, Eric Anderson, The Jefferson Starship, Berlin, Donna Summer, Dwight Yoakum, Boy Meets Girl, Mickey Thomas, Stan Ridgeway, James Lee Stanley, David Lee Roth, and The London Choir Boys, plus many others. In 1985, Mötley Crüe tapped him to sing backup alongside Max Gronenthal (.38 Special, Grand Funk Railroad) for legendary Theatre of Pain album. John and Max’s participation was an industry secret the only clue being a shout-out in the album “thank you” credits. In 2015 he lent his gorgeous voice to Adele joining her select group of backup singers to perform her smash “Let The Sky Fall” at the Oscars Most recently, after some 40 years, the Silver hit Wham Bam, which John sings lead vocals on, is part of the 70s mixtape in the new movie and soundtrack, “Guardians Of The Galaxy ll“.

Still Burnin' | Batdorf & Rodney
Still Burnin’
Batdorf & Rodney
With the rise of broadband and satellite radio in the 2000s, Batdorf found his back catalog gaining traction again as radio format shifted from big music business demands towards the taste of music fans. From this, came something of a rebirth for John. He recalls: “Close to thirty years after the break-up, I got an email from someone who asked me if I would do a house concert for him and some of his friends and family. Seems I played at his high school back in the seventies and must have made quite an impression. I explained that I hadn’t played those songs in close to thirty years but if he gave me a month, I would do it. As nervous as I was, I did the show and suddenly realized just how great it was to perform again. It was magical and it made me get back to artist mode.”

Soundrax2Recovery | Batdorf & McLeanSince then, John has been prolific as an artist, reconvening Batdorf & Rodney for a pair of releases; releasing an epiphanic album of acoustic Rolling Stones music with James Lee Stanley titled All Wood and Stones; and releasing seven solo albums of new music since 2004 on his own imprint, BATMAC MUSIC. Next Stop, Willoughby, is another collection of ten new original songs starting off with the title song “Willoughby” being inspired by an episode of the Twilight Zone. Every note on this CD was written, produced, arranged, mixed, sung and performed entirely by John. This was a project he has wanted to do for a lifetime inspired by Paul McCartney’s first one man band solo record way back in 1970. Me and My Guitar, John’s latest CD, is a 17 song rearranged and unplugged collection of songs John has recorded in his 47 year careerOne powerful entry in John’s modern era work is his four releases with legendary Utah-based singer, composer, and filmmaker, Michael McLean. The two first started working together in 1991, and officially formed Batdorf & McLean in 1997. The duo launched a unique substance abuse survival platform, and released the CD Soundtrax2Recovery. Batdorf & McLean have crafted an empowering body of music to inspire and enlighten individuals making the profound journey back from dependency. Their appearances combine heartfelt real life storytelling sprinkled in between their impactful catalog of tunes.

Beep Beep | John Batdorf
Beep Beep
“I grew up in drug culture, but there was always a voice in my head that said ‘don’t go here’ with heavy drugs. My son didn’t have that voice, but now he’s living the the life of sobriety, and sometimes sings with me. We were all lucky, and I want to help others. There is enormous power with songs that penetrate the heart,” John confides.

One can only imagine what went through a young John Batdorf’s head in 1967 as he raced down the highway with his buddies, chasing his dreams. He probably couldn’t envision his many successful reinventions, and working with the industry’s finest within each context. But when John surveys his legacy he says: “My whole life I’ve strove to do the best I possibly could and help people along the way with the talent I was blessed to be born with. That’s all we can really ever ask of ourselves.”

Batdorf and Rodney "Off The Shelf" 1971
Batdorf and Rodney "Batdorf and Rodney" 1972
Batdorf and Rodney "Life Is You" 1975
Silver "Silver" 1976
Batdorf and McLean "Look Inside" 1992
Batdorf and McLean "Don't You Know" 1997
Batdorf and Stanley "All Wood and Stones" 2005
John Batdorf "Side One" EP 2005
John Batdorf "Home Again" 2007
John Batdorf and Mark Rodney "Still Burnin'" 2008
John Batdorf "Old Man Dreamin'" 11 June 2009
John Batdorf "One Last Wish" October 4, 2011
John Batdorf and Michael McLean "Soundtrax2Recovery" 2013
John Batdorf and Mark Rodney "Portfolio" 2013
John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley "All Wood And Stones II 2013
John Batdorf "Beep Beep" 2015
John Batdorf "Next Stop, Willoughby" 2017
John Batdorf “ Me And My Guitar” 2018
John Batdorf “Broken” Digital Single Release 2019
John Batdorf “I Know What Girls Like” Digital Single Release 2019

Venue Testimonials for John Batdorf

John Batdorf Career Flash Points

Winter of 1970 at age 18, signed with Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun.
Spring of 1971, co-produced first Batdorf and Rodney album with Ahmet Ertegun in Muscle Shoals Alabama.
Fall of 1971, Off The Shelf was officially released.
Winter of 1971, Batdorf and Rodney were a national instant FM radio hit.
Winter of 1971, toured nationally with Bread.
Spring of 1972, performed with the Youngbloods to a sold out audience which included Ahmet Ertegun and his wife Mica, at Carnegie Hall in NYC.
Spring of 1972, switched to David Geffens West Coast based Asylum Records.
Summer of 1972, co-produced Batdorf and Rodney with Bill Halverson at the Record Plant in LA.
Fall of 1972, Batdorf and Rodney is released and again is an instant FM radio hit.
Fall / Winter of 1972, toured nationally with Poco, Dan Fogelberg, and began to headline their own college shows and clubs across the nation.
Summer of 1973, after extensive touring, Batdorf and Rodney take an extended break from one another and John pursues solo career.
Spring of 1974, Batdorf and Rodney begin working together again and sign a new deal with Clive Davis and Arista Records that summer.
Spring of 1975, Life Is You is released and has more impact on AM radio than ever before due to Clive Davis' production influence.
Summer of 1975, Batdorf and Rodney are headlining nationally and seemed destined for stardom.
Fall of 1975, Clive Davis believes the song, Somewhere in The Night, written by Richard Kerr and Will Jennings and recently recorded by Helen Reddy, would be a break-out hit for Batdorf and Rodney and rushes to record and release it as a single before Helen Reddy does.
Fall of 1975, Somewhere in the Night is released and enters the Billboard charts at # 80 with a bullet.
Fall of 1975, Helen Reddy manager Jeff Wald is furious with Clive and releases her version of Somewhere in the Night.
Late fall 1975, feud and power struggles between Clive Davis along with Jeff Walds' influence on AM radio programmers. Both records cancel each other out and neither version is a hit.
Winter of 1975, tensions build between Batdorf and Rodney over career direction as well as other personal reasons and the duo disbands forever.
Spring of 1976, John forms a new 5 piece band, Silver, and records an album for Arista that includes the top 20 hit single, Wham Bam, which again was personally hand picked by Clive Davis.
Summer of 1976, Silver goes on a national tour with America and in the fall with The Doobie Brothers.
Early 1977, Silver has all new material to record a follow-up album.
Spring of 1977, Clive Davis hears the new material and doesn’t hear a hit and tries to get the band to do more of his hand picked songs that again are clearly different than the bands' material and this time the band resists.
Late spring of 1977, Clive, Silver and Hartmann and Goodman are all in a power struggle and Clive elects to drop the band but holds their rights to any new deal which essentially kills the band.
In the summer 1978 John signs as a staff writer to The Entertainment Company started by Charles Koppelman and Martin Bandier.
1980 after two years, John has had songs recorded by America, Dan Seals, The Currie Sisters and Kim Carnes,
1982, at long last John signs a solo record deal with 20th Century Fox records and was being produced by Michael Stewart who previously produced Billy Joel among others.
1982, Marvin Davis buys 20th Century Fox and dissolves the record label and kills all new projects including Johns' album.
1982, John is introduced to Ad Music President Jim Bredouw and John starts a new career as a studio vocalist.
From 1982 to present day, John sings on many commercial national campaigns, many records, TV shows and movies including singing TV main titles for Tom and Jerry Kids, Garfield and Friends, Darkwing Duck, and Doctor, Doctor. John also sings on hit records with Motley Crue, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, and Dwight Yoakum.
1990 John begins to write and produce his own commercials.
John meets Michael McLean and they begin writing songs together.
1996 the two record and release a CD, Don’t You Know, on a small indy label BWE Music.
Summer in 1996, John is offered a shot as composer for the CBS Touched By An Angel spinoff, Promised Land, and lands the gig and cannot tour to support the CD.
1996 to 1999 Promised Land lasts for three seasons .
John is asked by Touched By An Angel producers to stay on as a second composer and supply the show with all of its source music.
2004, after nine seasons, Touched By An Angel is canceled and John continues to compose music for the TV movie, Book of Days, and theatrical release, The Best Two Years.
Summer of 2004, John records All Wood and Stones CD with James Lee Stanley and the CD gets extensive Satellite Radio and NPR airplay.
2005 John records a solo EP, Side One, and releases it on his own BatMac Music label.
2005, John is back touring again and writes songs for his full length solo CD, Home Again.
Summer of 2006, John records the CD and after 30 odd years teams up on a few songs with Mark Rodney.
The record is released in 2007 and again gets extensive Satellite, NPR, 365 Radio play and gets great reviews.
Starting right after the January release in 2007, John begins touring as a solo act for the first time and gets rave reviews for his live show.
Fall of 2007, XM Radio program director, Mike Marrone, invites John and Mark Rodney to do an XM Radio live concert which was recorded in November that year.
2008, with permission from XM, John mixes the concert like a record, adds percussion, and releases Batdorf and Rodney: Still Burnin’ May of 2008 which also includes two brand new songs recorded in LA.
2008, John and Mark tour a bit as the CD is well accepted and gets a good amount of airplay.
Summer of 2009, John writes songs for a new solo CD which was recorded in Winter 08/09 with plans to release it in the Spring of 2009
June 11, 2009, Official Release Date for the new CD, "Old Man Dreamin'"
Oct. 2011, Official release for "One Last Wish"
2012 released Soundtrax2Recovery, Portfolio and All Wood and Stones II
2014 appeared as a background singer on the Oscars backing up Adele.
2015 released Beep Beep
2017 released Next Stop, Willoughby.
2018 releases Me And My Guitar
2019 Release two singles, Broken and I Know What Girls Like.

What a Ride!