John Benitez

  (Redirected from John "Jellybean" Benitez)

John Benitez (born November 7, 1957), also known as Jellybean, is an American drummer, guitarist, songwriter, DJ, remixer and music producer of Puerto Rican descent. He has produced and remixed artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and the Pointer Sisters.[1] In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked him as the 99th most successful dance artist of all-time.[2]

John "Jellybean" Benitez
Also known asJellybean
Born (1957-11-07) November 7, 1957 (age 63)
South Bronx, New York, United States
OriginNew York City
GenresFreestyle, electro-funk, house
Occupation(s)Songwriter, musician, producer
Years active1980–present
LabelsJellybean Music Group
Chrysalis/EMI Records
EMI Records
Associated actsMadonna, Whitney Houston

Early yearsEdit

Benitez's parents moved from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s to the South Bronx section of New York City. His mother raised Benitez and a younger sibling as a single mother. He grew up enjoying music, usually listening to his sister's record collection. His sister Debbie, nicknamed him Jellybean as his initials are J.B. and from the expression "Know what I mean, Jellybean?"[3][4] Benitez attended De Witt Clinton High School and John F. Kennedy High School, but did not graduate.

He relocated to Manhattan in 1975, attending disco nightclubs, which sparked his interest in becoming a disc jockey (DJ). He worked at a nightclub called Experiment 4 & Electric Circus. In 1980 Benitez enrolled and attended Bronx Community College, where he studied Marketing and Sales Promotion. Benitez worked as a DJ at Electric Circus, Hurrah, Xenon, Paradise Garage and Studio 54. In 1981, he was hired as the resident DJ at Funhouse. He hosted a weekend dance radio show at WKTU.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Benitez was Madonna's boyfriend early in her career. He later married Carolyn Effer, a model, but later divorced. They have two daughters, Layla Benitez & Reya Benitez.[5]

Music careerEdit


Benitez started to remix singles, such as Jimmy Spicer's "The Bubble Bunch," Rocker's Revenge's "Walking on Sunshine," Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and Stephen Bray of the group Breakfast Club. Benitez met Bray's bandmate at the time, Madonna. A two-year romance developed. Benitez became involved with remixing Madonna's self-titled debut album in 1983, including the singles "Burning Up", "Borderline", and "Lucky Star." He also produced "Holiday."[1]

Other artistsEdit

Benitez produced Whitney Houston's Top ten hit "Love Will Save the Day" from her second album Whitney. He remixed songs for many other artists including Olivia Newton-John, Sting, Hall & Oates, George Benson, Shalamar, Jocelyn Brown, Patti Austin, Bobby O, Sheena Easton, Talking Heads, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham, John Waite, The Pointer Sisters, Debbie Harry, a-ha, Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis and the News and Paul McCartney.[1]

Jellybean nameEdit

Benitez scored two 1980s US pop hits released under the Jellybean name: "Sidewalk Talk" (US #18), written by Madonna and featuring Catherine Buchanan; and "Who Found Who" (US #16), featuring Elisa Fiorillo. Nine recordings placed in the Top Ten of the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, including three number ones. Other vocalists who have performed on a Jellybean release include Adele Bertei, Richard Darbyshire and Niki Haris. His 1984 cover of Babe Ruth's "The Mexican" (for which he recruited original singer, Janita Haan) is regarded as a pivotal moment in the electro-hip hop underground scene, and was his first number-one single on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.[1]

He was successful in the United Kingdom as an artist in his own right. His hits there included:- "Sidewalk Talk" (UK #47, 1986) ; "The Real Thing" (UK #13, 1987) featuring Steven Dante; "Who Found Who" (UK #10, 1988) with Elisa Fiorillo; "Jingo" (UK #13, 1988) and "Just a Mirage" (UK #13, 1988) with vocals by Adele Bertei.[6]


Benitez continues to deejay globally. He owns Jellybean Productions, Jellybean Soul and Jellybean Music Group. In 1995, he founded the now-defunct H.O.L.A. recording label (House of Latin Artists) which developed hip hop and R&B music by bilingual artists and released recordings in both English and Spanish. Voices of Theory signed with this label.[1] On September 19, 2005, Benitez was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.


Benitez is now the executive producer of Studio 54 Radio, which is heard exclusively on SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Channel 54). Studio 54 Radio launched August 15, 2011. It features 1970s and 1980s classic dance from Jellybean's personal collection and the vaults and collections of Studio 54 insiders.[7]

Partial discographyEdit


Selected remixesEdit



  • Wotupski!?! 1984
  • Just Visiting This Planet 1987
  • Jellybean Rocks The House 1988
  • Spillin' the Beans 1991
  • A Celebration in Sound 2010


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Dance
1984 "The Mexican" 1 Wotupski!?!
"Sidewalk Talk" 18 51 1 34 31 47
1987 "Who Found Who" (featuring Elisa Fiorillo) 16 3 46 95 21 10 Just Visiting This Planet
"The Real Thing" (featuring Steven Dante) 82 49 1 22 33 21 13
"Jingo" 2 16 16 44 18 19 12
1988 "Just A Mirage" (featuring Adele Bertei) 4 87 27 13
"Coming Back For More" (featuring Richard Darbyshire) 9 50 41 Jellybean Rocks The House!
1991 "What's It Gonna Be" (featuring Niki Haris) 90 2 98 Spillin' The Beans
"Spillin' The Beans" 5
2006 "New York House" (featuring Marlon D.) singles only
2008 "Secrets & Lies" (featuring Carla Prather) (promo only)
2009 "You Bring Me Joy" (featuring Su Su Bobien) (promo only) A Celebration in Sound
(as "3 Amigos" with Marlon D. & Mena Keys)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Motion Picture / TelevisionEdit

Benitez composed the theme song to The Ricki Lake Show and The Charles Perez Show. He produced motion pictures and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy for his role as an Executive Producer for HBO's For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story starring Andy Garcia. He served as music supervisor and created and mixed tunes for many soundtracks.

Music SupervisorEdit

Among the motion pictures for which he served as Music Supervisor are:

Soundtrack worksEdit

Among the motion picture soundtracks for which he created and mixed tunes are:

Television worksEdit

Among the television show soundtracks for which he created and mixed tunes are:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f [1] Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Greatest of All Time Top Dance Club Artists : Page 1". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  3. ^ "Internet Radio". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  4. ^ 1979 interview with Jellybean Benitez on YouTube
  5. ^ Jacobs, Madeline Stone, Sarah. "The 'Insta-famous' sons and daughters of New York's elite let me into their circle — here's what it was like". Business Insider.
  6. ^ "jellybean | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  7. ^ "Studio 54 - Ultimate Classic Dance - SiriusXM Radio". SiriusXM.
  8. ^ "B-Movie - A Letter From Afar (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  9. ^ "Jellybean – US Hot 100 Chart". Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  10. ^ "Jellybean – US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart". Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  11. ^ "Jellybean – US Dance Club Songs Chart". Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  12. ^ "Jellybean – German Chart". Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  13. ^ "The Official Charts Company – John Benitez". The Official Charts Company. April 4, 2014.


External linksEdit