I love the Curious George theme song. I said to my husband, I think an African-American guy is singing it. He said “No, that’s not African-American guy.” We had a bet over it. I lost.

Image from http://www.nishasondhe.com

I found out who he was, Dr. John. He is an American singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.  He is from Louisiana, hence the accent.

Anyway, the reason I am talking about him is because of his story. Great example of turning your life around. I was impressed. Below info is from wikipedia.

  • He did not take music lessons before his teens, and only endured a short stint in choir before getting kicked out.                                                                                                                             
  • ….they told him to either stop playing in clubs or leave the school. He chose the latter                                                                                        
  •  Dr. John grew up with full exposure to the realities of New Orleans. Prostitutes, pimps, thieves and addicts all participated in the same nightlife scene that contributed to his development as a musician. He was introduced to marijuana, among other drugs, at a young age, ultimately gaining an addiction to heroin in his teen years.                                                                                                                                               
  • During the 1950s, he sold narcotics and even ran a brothel. (He was born in 1940!)                                                                                      
  • He picked up a list of arrests that finally led to prison time in Texas. His sentence ended in 1965.                                               
  • His career as a guitarist came to an end when his left ring finger was injured by a gunshot while he was defending his bandmate

 Boy, he did (and got involved in) pretty amazingly daring and     non-survival things and a person reading all this , of course,would expect him not to produce much positive later on, right?

 Well, apparently it is possible, otherwise I wouldn’t know about him or talking about him. 

After jail he moved to LA, focused on music, eventually stopped using drugs  (Finally, Dr. John exited his final rehabilitation stint, clean, in December 1989 and often speaks of how happy he is to have been clean and sober for over 25 years.)

Looking at his story, it is clear that Dr. John did not loose his desire for making music and kept on producing. One positive thing in his life. He’s been making music since the 60’s! He is not in the music for his looks but for the music itself. That is one thing you don’t always see in the current music business.

  • He wrote music, performed songs for movies, sitcoms and documentaries, performed at music festivals, co-produced albums. Co-performed with other artists such as Eric Clapton, Etta James, Jools Holland and more.
  •   In September 2005 he performed Bobby Charles’ “Walkin’ to New Orleans”, to close the Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast telethon. This was for the relief of Hurricane Katrina victims: following the devestation of his hometown of New Orleans.


  •  In February 2006, he joined fellow New Orleans native Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin and a 150-member choir for the national anthem at Super Bowl XL as part of a pre-game tribute to New Orleans.

dr. john
Dr. John at the 2006 Jazz à Vienne festival, in Vienne, France

  • In May 2006, Dr. John recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road. His performance was aired alongside those of LeAnn Rimes and Massive Attack on the Sundance Channel in the USA and Channel 4 in the UK.

Dr.John at the Liri Blues Festival, Italy, July 2010.

  • In January 2008, Dr. John was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Later, in February he performed at All-Star Saturday Night, part of the NBA All-Star Weekend

Grammy Awards

  • 1989 Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group-Makin’Whoopee
  • 1992 Best Traditional Bluew Album-Goin’Back To New Orleans
  • 1996 Best Rock Instrumental Performance-SRV Shuffle
  • 2000 Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals-Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t (My Baby)
  • 2008 Best Contemporary Blues Album-City that Care Forgot
  • 2013 Best Blues Album-Locked Down

Hats off to you Dr. John!

The GIST of the story: If you are not doing well, you can ALWAYS make choices that will lead you to BETTER SURVIVAL. If you are doing okay and are successful you can do even BETTER.  There is always a BETTER ; )


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