John Antonopoulos (born November 14, 1952 in Malden, Massachusetts), known as Johnny A., is an American guitarist and songwriter.
Born in Malden, Massachusetts of Greek heritage and growing up in Boston area, Johnny A. became interested in music, starting with drums at age six. Upon being exposed to The Beatles in 1964 (age 11), Johnny's parents bought him a $49 Lafayette Electronics guitar. Johnny says his last name, Antonopoulos (of Greek origin), was always getting mispronounced. "It's always been Johnny A. since age eight," he says.
In the 1970s, Johnny A. formed a band called The Streets, performing mostly in the Boston area. The Streets had several extremely popular radio singles including the #1 "What Gives" on the legendary WBCN Radio "The Rock of Boston". As well as headlining on the Boston club scene, The Streets toured with or supported several major artists including Aerosmith, Bob Seger. The Streets also competed in the first WBCN "Rock 'n' Roll Rumble in 1979.
In 1980, Johnny formed the band Hidden Secret which also had a string of local hit singles including "No More Lonely Nights", which occupied the top spot on 'BCN for 26 weeks.
In 1986, His band, Hearts On Fire, as well continuing to produce hit local singles, placed second in the 1986 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble only to be edged out by Gang Green.
In the 1980s through the 1990s As a sideman, Johnny played with Santana percussionist Mingo Lewis as well as brief stint with Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug Clifford and then with Delaney & Bonnie, Derek & the Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock. He then began a seven-year stint as guitarist and musical director with The J. Geils Band front man Peter Wolf. He played on Wolf's albums, and co-produced one of them, Long Line 1996 (4 stars - Rolling Stone), as well as joining him on world tours.
In 1999, Johnny A. launched his solo career and independently released his debut CD Sometime Tuesday Morning.
In 2000, Johnny A. signs a licensing deal to re-release Sometime Tuesday Morning with Steve Vai's Favored Nations Entertainment.
In 2001, Sometime Tuesday Morning was re-released on Steve Vai's Favored Nations Entertainment label Sony/RED distribution. The album spawned the #1 single "Oh Yeah" across the USA on the AAA radio format. It marked the first time in over a decade that an instrumental had achieved the top spot on radio. STM went on to sell over 100,000 copies.
In 2003, Sometime Tuesday Morning was then picked up for distribution by Danny Goldberg at Artemus Records.
Also in 2003, Gibson Custom Guitar company, in close collaboration with Johnny A., released a "Johnny A." Signature Model guitar, designed to the artist's specifications. To this day it is one of the company's most successful "signature" model guitars.
Creating an artist signature model guitar is not something we take lightly. But sometimes a player comes along who is not only a musical innovator and artist of the highest-caliber, but has innovative ideas about designing a totally new instrument. And that's Johnny, who just knocked us off our feet.
In 2003, Johnny A. signs a multi-record contract with Steve Vai's Sony/Red distributed Favored Nations Entertainment and saw the release of the "radio-only" promotional Johnny A. Christmas single "Sleigh Ride", released on the label.
In 2004, "Get Inside" was released on the Favored Nations Label, yielding two radio singles, "I Had To Laugh," (which made the Grammy nominations ballot) and a radio edit of the title track "Get Inside."
In 2006, Warner Bros./Alfred Publishing released a Johnny A. instructional DVD entitled "Taste, Tone, Space."
In 2007, Gibson Custom guitar company released a second Johnny A. Signature guitar, the Johnny A. Standard.
In 2010, Johnny A. released "One November Night" (2010 Aglaophone Records), a live DVD/CD set recorded at Sculler's Jazz in his hometown of Boston, MA.
In 2010, Johnny A. is the recipient of The Boston Music Award's Blues Artist of the Year 2010.
In 2014, Johnny's most recent studio offering, "Driven", (June 3, 2014), is his most ambitious album to date. It marks his engineering debut as well as mixing, producing and playing all the instruments on the album.
In 2014, Gibson Custom released a "new" version of the Johnny A. Standard. All three versions are still currently in production.
In December 14, 2014 Johnny A. was inducted into the Boston Music Hall of Fame at the Boston Music Awards.
In 2015, Johnny A. joined The Yardbirds.
Johnny's style often recalls Danny Gatton as well as some aspects of Jeff Beck and Pat Martino. His encompasses elements of rock, jazz, and blues, and he often uses a whammy bar. Among his musical influences, he cites The Beatles, Yardbirds, Everly Brothers, Wes Montgomery, Chet Atkins, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Les Paul.