In the early 1970s, Warman joined the group Bearded Lady (originally named Elmo's Fire) as a vocalist/rhythm guitarist with fellow members Freddy Sheriff on guitar, Chris Peel on bass, Mickey Irvine (Later replaced by Paul 'The Mouse' Martin and then Clive 'Short Bar' Brooks and finally Bryson Graham) on drums and Kim Jury and Theresa O'Neil as backing singers.

Warman and Sheriff had been in school and The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme together and were brought together musically by a mutual friend named Yvonne Castro. The group's first gig was at the Morpeth Castle, during which the only member of the audience walked out after the first song. Being managed by John Hunt and Barry Sullivan's Hunsul Enterprises very much a "Pub Rock" group, they performed at many London (as well as many other towns) venues including, The Hope And Anchor, The Brecknock, The Kensington, The Cock At Kilburn And The Lord Nelson, even being a support act for Humphrey Lyttelton in Fishguard. The group focused their efforts on their live act and had a solid following built up over four years, including Mickie Most who unsuccessfully tried to sign them to RAK Records three times. Chuck Berry also came to see the band. During the period in which Warman was in Bearded Lady he was often to be found frequenting the clubs of London where he was in contact with many other "scene" people including David Bowie, who referred to Warman by name, which was a true accolade for an aspiring rock star.

Bearded Lady entered the National Folk And Rock Contest in 1974 and won the first heat only to come second to Curly (later to be Q-Tips) in the finals. Bearded Lady finally managed to sign a record deal with Youngblood records (after a deal with Private Stock also failed) which saw the release of a single "Rock Star"/"Country Lady" in 1975. The band took out on a tour of West Germany (Zoom in Frankfurt and P.N. Club in Munich) to support a German release of the single on Bellaphon/Youngblood International which was as close as the group would ever get to a world tour. Warman worked a day job to support his wife and young family (Daughters Zowie born 1973 and Tammy) but still insisted the band commit to at least four nights of rehearsals a week. One day whilst Warman was waiting for the band to pick him up in their van the other band members had decided to sell all their equipment and the van and with that the group ceased to exist.

The last performance by Bearded Lady was at the Marquee Club supported by The Jam. After the collapse of Bearded Lady, Warman set out with demos in hand to get a solo deal. It was around this time that he started spelling his surname "Warman" rather than "Waughman", as both "Johnny" and "Warman" have six letters.