By Trishna Buch
The Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation will be holding its Eighth Annual Evening For Education Gala on Thursday, starting at 6:00pm. And music legend Johnny Lee will be the gala’s special honoree. Lee was born in Texas City and grew up in Alta Loma. It was when he was attending Santa Fe High School that he started a band—‘Johnny Lee and the Roadrunners’—and kicked-off his musical career. However, after graduating high-school, he took a different route and decided to join the military. “I was in the military for about four years,
and did two tours in Vietnam,” he told me. After leaving the military, Lee decided to go back to his original passion—music. He began by covering various songs in different bars and nightclubs, mostly in California and Texas, before eventually beginning a relationship with country music singer, Mickey Lee. This relationship began in 1968 and lasted 10 years. Lee would work with Gilley on tour, as well
as at his club in Pasadena. According to https://www.allmusic.com/artist/johnny-lee-mn0000240267/biography, Lee would, sometimes, perform with Gilley as a backing vocalist and be headliner when Gilley was absent. He began performing as a solo artist in 1973, but his catapult into stardom came in 1979 when the movie ‘Urban Cowboy’ came to be shot in Texas. Lee was asked to record a song—‘Lookin’
For Love’—for the movie, and was invited to be in the film, playing himself. “This has been my biggest accomplishment,” he told me. This song rose in popularity and eventually became number five on pop charts and one on country charts. By this time, Lee had been signed to the label of the film’s producer—Irving Azoff’s Full Moon—and was able to create an album entitled ‘Lookin’ For Love’ which featured three more hits—including ‘Prisoner Of Hope.’ However, despite ‘Urban Cowboy’ catapulting him into fame, Lee’s website does say that his first introduction into the movie world came with his participation in the television movie ‘The Girls In The Office’ which also released in 1979. Over the years, Lee’s career continued to grow. He released several hits, including ‘One In A Million,’ ‘When You Fall In Love’, ‘Save The Last Chance’ and ‘Heart To Heart Talk.’ His first album came out in 1977 and was titled ‘For Lovers Only’ and, since then, he has released 23 albums. His latest—tiled ‘You Ain’t Never Been To Texas’—released in 2016. Over the years, Lee has continued to tour and entertain fans all over Texas and other parts of the country. He will be performing at the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation’s Gala alongside the Santa
Fe High School Foundation Club, and will also be delivering a speech. Tickets for the event are still available and if you would like to get hold of some, please contact the Foundation at 409-925-9080. And if you would like to learn more about Lee, please visit his website at http://
www.theofficialjohnnylee.com/home or at https://www.allmusic.com/artist/johnny-lee-mn0000240267/biography.
By Trishna Buch