Passings: Joey Powers (1935 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Joey Powers, who hit the U.S. top ten in 1964 with Midnight Mary, died on Friday at Washington Hospital in Washington, PA at the age of 82.

A lifelong resident of Washington, Powers was born Joseph Ruggiero and received a degree from Ohio State University before serving in the Army.

His first recordings were made in 1958 as Joey Rogers and released on Nu-Clear and ABC but none were successful and he became a producer for NBC in New York with the help of family friend Perry Como.

In the early 60's, Joey signed a contract with RCA Records where his name was changed to Joey Powers and a series of singles were released without any charting. It wasn't until Jerry Landis, who is better known as Paul Simon, heard a demo of Powers singing Midnight Mary that things turned around. Recommended to label owner Larry Uttal, the song was released on Amy Records and went to number 10.

An album followed with both Simon and Roger McGuinn playing the studio sessions but no further singles broke from it. An album with Roy Orbison and Bobby Bare, Special Delivery, also didn't receive much notice as the British Invasion took over the charts.

Over the next five years, Joey released records as Joey Powers and the New Dimensions and Joey Powers' Flowers without success and he soon settled in Hazlet, NJ where he opened a booking agency and recording studio.

In the early 90's, he returned to school to study theology and became an ordained minister, starting the church Bayshore Gospel in West Orange, NJ and moving to St. Petersburg, Russia where he opened a recording studio and helped set up Christian orphanages.

Powers is survived by a son, two daughters and two grandchildren.

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