June 25, 1922
Alabama jazz legend Johnny Smith was born in Birmingham on June 25, 1922. Smith was best known as the original guitarist for and composer of the jazz standard “Walk, Don’t Run,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts in 1960 after it was covered by the Ventures in a sped up, surf style. Smith was also known as a guitar designer, having designed signature models for Gibson, Heritage and Guild guitars. Smith was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 1998 he was awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal for his contributions to American culture.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.