|born: July 20, 1933 in Happy, TX
died: February 14, 1999, Washington
Buddy Knox: "Rhythm Orchid Racket" Buddy Knox's solo career
would have never come into being had not the label bosses at the newly
formed Roulette Records decided to get some extra mileage out of a recent
master lease. Knox--along with bass player Jimmy Bowen--recorded "Party
Doll" and "I'm Stickin' With You" under their original sobriquet of the
Rhythm Rockers and had it pressed it up on their own Triple-D label back
They had recorded both sides along with
a couple of other tunes ("Everlovin' Fingers" and "My Baby's Gone") at
Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico. However, when Roulette leased
the session, instead of releasing the single in its original form, they
opted instead for two separate singles, assigning "My Baby's Gone" to be
the new b-side of "Party Doll" and "Everlovin' Fingers" to be the flip
of "I'm Stickin' With You." The old group name was now relegated to backup
band status as "Party Doll" came out as Buddy Knox with the Rhythm Orchids
and "I'm Stickin' With You" was issued as Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids.
Even more confusing was the simple fact that the b-side of "Party Doll"--the
bluesy "My Baby's Gone"--was in fact, Bowen singing lead!
No matter, "Party Doll" shot to the very
top of the charts in March of 1957, becoming the very first self composed
rock'n'roll song to make number one hit, a point not lost on old time Tin
Pan Alley songwriters, the rockabilly handwriting on the wall, so to speak.
It also fostered cover versions left and right from R&B star Roy Brown,
Sinatra wanna-be Steve Lawrence and jazz trumpeter Wingy Manone, all of
whom took the song into pop charts top 100.
"I'm Stickin' With You" fared almost as
well, into the top 20 for a couple of months and beating out a cover version
on Dot by the Fontane Sisters, who seemed to be making a career out of
doing vanilla milk shake cover versions at that time.
Knox stayed with it long enough to end
up on the oldies circuit while Bowen went behind the glass, becoming one
of the top producers in both country and pop music, bringing both Reba
McIntyre and Garth Brooks to mainstream audiences. But the real rockin'
(and the very beginnings of Roulette Records; these were their first two
releases--both can be heard on Westside's The Roulette Story) starts right
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