John Platania is a well-known session musician, guitar player, and record producer.
Platania was born in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, in Ulster County, near Woodstock.
He is most known for his work with Van Morrison, beginning on Moondance, and most recently on 2009's Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl. In 1973 Platania toured with Morrison as a member of his band at the time The Caledonia Soul Orchestra. The double live album It's Too Late to Stop Now was released in 1974, which included songs from three nights of the tour. Platania also co-wrote two songs with Morrison, on his compilation album of out-takes The Philosopher's Stone, as well as playing guitar on several of the tracks on disc one.
He played on several albums for Chip Taylor, songwriter of "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" and from 1974 through 1982, he recorded and or performed with Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins.
In 1976, Platania formed a band in Los Angeles called The Giants. Its members included Ron Elliott, formerly of The Beau Brummels, with Karl Rucker from the post-Jim Morrison Doors, and Bruce Gary, drummer who went on to The Knack.
Platania began working with Don McLean in 1981 playing as his accompanist on every US, Canadian and overseas tour until 1996. John Platania has never been on any records with Don McLean, only on the road. In 2007, Don McLean said "John Platania has been a great friend. He was a completely reliable, fantastically inspired, hard-working, funny and wise human being. I feel very fortunate to have found him and very fortunate that he was willing to devote as much of his time to me and my music as he did" (Howard, 2007).
In 1983, he produced and wrote the score for the Emmy winning musical revue None for the Road, a public service production to educate young people about the dangers of drinking, drugs and driving.
In 1997 he played guitar for Natalie Merchant on her summer tour.
In 2002, Platania released his solo debut Lucky Dog, featuring guitar and vocals. In 2007 John released his second and predominately instrumental CD entitled 'Blues Waltzes and Badland Borders'. John has also been the producer and guitarist for 3 Nik Rael CDs.
Platania has worked as a producer on three albums for Guy Davis. He also produced Davis’s "I Will Be Your Friend,” the title song for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s "anti-hate" compilation CD, as well as songs on tribute CDs to Charlie Patton and Nick Lowe. He composed the music for Sail Production’s stage version of Harriet Tubman, which toured the U.S. during Black History Month.
In 2006, Platania again reunited with Van Morrison, touring on Morrison's "Pay The Devil" tour and continues playing with the Van Morrison band in 2008. He played guitar with Van Morrison's band at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 1980 and appeared on the 2006 issued DVD Live at Montreux 1980/1974. On September 15, 2006, he played in Van Morrison's band at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. A limited edition live album was issued from this concert — Live at Austin City Limits Festival. He also appeared with Morrison in the Austin City Limits film that was made for television and shown in November 2006 on the CMT television channel. He played guitar on several of the tracks on the March 2008 release of Morrison's thirty-third studio album, Keep It Simple.
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“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
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