Johnny Burnette had three successful careers in Rock and Roll▒with his
brother, Dorsey, and Paul Burlison he formed the Rock and Roll Trio, and
made some good 'n' raunchy rockabilly records like THE TRAIN KEPT A
ROLLIN', OH BABY BABE, TEAR IT UP and HONEY HUSH. As composers, he and
Dorsey wrote several songs for Rick Nelson, including BELIEVE WHAT YOU
SAY, WAITIN' IN SCHOOL, IT'S LATE, and JUST A LITTLE TOO MUCH. His
greatest fame, however, came as a solo performer in the teen-idol style,
recording for Liberty Records such hits as DREAMIN', SETTIN' THE WOODS
ON FIRE, CINCINATTI FIREBALL, YOU'RE SIXTEEN, LITTLE BOY SAD, BIG BIG
WORLD, and GOD, COUNTRY AND MY BABY.
Orbison's songs attracted many of the early Rock and Roll performers such
as Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Everly Brothers. Nashville claims
Orbison as a country singer, but he had a lot of the mood of early Rock and
Roll. He was one of the puzzling few country singers to make it in Rock
and Roll after Elvis, with such songs as: ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM, BLUE
BAYOU, PRETTY WOMAN, ONLY THE LONELY, CANDY MAN, I CAN'T STOP
LOVING YOU, and CRYING.
There have always been cute, young, pre-pubescent girls in country music,
astounding everyone with their talent and confidence. Brenda Lee was one
of these. She was only a little girl but she made seventy-four singles. Her
record, I'M SORRY, was number one for three weeks in 1960, and it took
Elvis and the Twist to push it off the top. Other hits were: I WANT TO BE
WANTED, YOU CAN DEPEND ON ME, EMOTIONS, FOOL NUMBER ONE, and DUM
Pat Boone started his career as an Ivy League family man who recorded
successful cover versions of Rythm and Blues records such as TUTTI
FRUTTI and AT MY FRONT DOOR, though he found greater success with
material that more suited his calm, smooth delivery: DON'T FORBID ME,
WHY BABY WHY, LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND, APRIL LOVE, WONDERFUL TIME
UP THERE, SUGAR MOON, IF DREAMS CAME TRUE, MOODY RIVER and SPEEDY
LaVerne Baker was one of the leading female Rhythm and Blues vocalists
of the '50s. Her initial release, TWEEDLE-DEE, shot up the Blues charts,
and was followed by such steady sellers as DANCE WITH ME HENRY, JIM
DANDY, I CRIED A TEAR, BUMBLE BEE, and I WAITED TOO LONG.
Lloyd Price wrote and sang some of the bounciest songs of the '50s. His
LAWDY MISS CLAWDY became a classic which has been done by every Rock
and Roll singer worth his salt, including Elvis. Price toured all over the
world, taking with him the sound that was later to form the basis for
much of the Rock and Roll that sprang up in other countries. Other songs
include: STAGGER LEE, JUST BECAUSE, WHERE WERE YOU ON OUR WEDDING
DAY?, and PERSONALITY.
Out of the scores of rockabilly artists that followed the musical path that
Elvis originally blazed, there were only a few that reached national fame.
Dale Hawkins was one that managed to deliver something unique in songs
like SUSIE Q and BEFORE THE PARTY WAS OVER. He managed what was
probably the definitive version of the classic, MY BABE. A few other minor
hits followed, but SUSIE Q stands as his outstanding contribution to the
Gene Vincent, another country performer turned Rock and Roller, began his
career only months after Elvis. He was the embodiment of the leather-
and-motorcycle movement immortalized by Marlon Brando and James Dean,
in a time when the idea of a man singing in a leather jacket rather than a
tuxedo was wildly exciting and slightly erotic. Teenagers saw him a a
symbol of their struggle for an identity of their own. Among Vincent's hits
were BE-BOP-A-LULA and LOTTA LOVIN'.
Traditional Country and Western music originating in the hills and
backwoods of Tennessee and Kentucky▒this was the heritage and approach
to Rock and Roll that the Everly Brothers took. Their harmony is straight
out of the Country and Western tradition, and like Elvis, Carl Perkins, and
Jerry Lee Lewis, they easily straddled the two worlds of Country and Rock
and Roll. They were one of the few original Rock and Roll acts to survive
the English invasion and the psychadelic era. Among their many hits are
songs such as ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM, BYE BYE LOVE, WAKE UP LITTLE
SUSIE, and DEVOTED TO YOU.
Tommy Sands started as a genuine Country and Western performer. In his
early teens he was a successful artist while under the management of Col.
Tom Parker. He played Rock and Roll with a true rockabilly feel. He was
literally an overnight sensation after starring in ¬The Singin' Idol,║ the
first TV drama on the subject of Rock and Roll. Sands put out four albums
of Popular music with as fine an interpretation of Tin Pan Alley as can be
found anywhere. He also wrote some of his own songs. His singles, though
consistently good, were not great until he put together his own backup
group, first The Raiders and then The Sharks. The Sharks were one of the
best Rock and Roll bands ever assembled. The high point of Sands' career
was his eleventh Capitol record, I AIN'T GETTIN' RID OF YOU.
A CASE FOR REINSTATEMENT OF TOMMY
SANDSINTO THE HISTORY OF ROCK AND
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