This is the year 15-year-old Jan Akkerman founded Johnny & his Cellar Rockers. Besides Jan and his 8-year-old brother Cocky, the band consisted of Pierre van der Linden on drums, later joined by Cor Engelsma (bass) and Jan Burgers (second guitarist).
Because of their unbridled and loud enthusiasm during music practice, they were regularly banned to the cosy cellar of the Akkerman family. They first started out without a singer. They did not need one, for they played instrumental rock, a musical style that was very popular at the time. It was introduced in 1960 by the world-famous band The Shadows. The genre was eagerly picked up by young Dutch people and many Dutch musicians started copying it.
With the talented Jan Akkerman as front man, the band soon became very popular in Amsterdam and its surroundings. They managed to get a record deal with Philips and released their first single Exodus/Melody in F Rock on Decca.
1962 - 1963
Blue Tango/Una aventura mas were the first productions in 1962. Jan also started to play his own material with Johnny & his Cellar Rockers and two of his compositions, Namrekka and Bonzo, were released on vinyl. Both singles also appeared on an EP called Blue Tango.
Pierre van der Linden was replaced in 1962 by Sydney Wachtel. The members of the band figured it was time for something new. Instrumental music decreased in popularity, so they decided to try out a new musical genre. The Beatles, who conquered the whole world with their music, were a great source of inspiration for many bands, including Jan and his crew. The song All my loving, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, provided the basis for their next single, which finally got the title Close your eyes. The single's B-side was the rock classic Be-Bop-A-Lula. These two songs proved that Johnny & his Cellar Rockers could handle vocal repertoire just as well.
Many artists heard of the band's musical growth and as a result they were frequently asked to accompany various solo artists during studio recordings. In between collaborations, the band also recorded single I love you, yes I do/Why.