Thursday, May 9, 2013




Well, just ask Tommy Roe who did that very thing in 1962

 By the way . .






It all started in Atlanta during his high school years.  
Roe and a couple of friends formed a band called The Saints.


Along the way, Roe met Felton Jarvis, and in February, 1962 (while Roe was employed at General Electric) they headed to Nashville to record two songs with Jarvis as the producer - one of which was Roe's own composition, 'Sheila.'

'Sheila' rose to number one in America, Australia and Canada.  
It reached #9 in Germany, and #3 in the UK.

To listen to 'Sheila' click here:

When Roe's record label, ABC-Paramount, asked that he 
tour to promote his hit single, he was reluctant to leave his 
secure job with GE, but was soon persuaded by a $10,000 
advance against royalties.

 His follow-up to 'Sheila' was a cover of Robin Luke's "Susie Darlin'" which charted in the U.S. at #35/Canada #21/UK #37

To listen to "Susie Darlin'" click here: 

March, 1963 found Tommy Roe touring England as co-headliner with Chris Montez.  The show was opened by that up-and-coming group from Liverpool, The Beatles.

Here's a portion of Ian & Lauren Wright's 2010 article from Goldmine Magazine that recounts the '63 UK tour:

The Beatles forged ahead like a juggernaut, finally attaining a #1 chart hit with “Please Please Me” in February 1963. March 9, less than a month later, their second U.K. tour began in London’s East Ham. Since the tour contract had been signed well before they charted and Brian Epstein always honored his contracts, the boys received bottom-of-the-bill wages consisting of £80 a week (for all four), including expenses.
Americans Tommy Roe and Chris Montez headlined the tour but after the first performance realized it was impossible to follow The Beatles. Roe said, “It was complete mayhem at the theatre with hundreds of screaming girls rushing the stage like lemmings. They were completely out of control, with only a few theatre staff and usherettes trying to keep some sort of order. How could you possibly follow that?” Subsequently, Roe and Montez agreed to drop down the bill, letting The Beatles close out the shows. (cont. below)


I spoke with Tommy recently at his home in Los Angeles when he recounted, “I got on very well with The Beatles. Every day began with nonstop questions about everything American. Evidently, their biggest goal was to go to the States. Montez was not so popular, always pestering them with questions about who they were and why they were so popular. John nicknamed him, ‘The Little Mexican Kid.’

“Montez wondered why John and Paul always had their heads together writing songs, even on the tour bus. In those days there was only one motorway in the whole of England which traversed the 100 miles between London and Birmingham. All other roads were single carriageways and country lanes, so the tour buses had to travel through the night to reach the next gig. The long back seat of the bus became a bed for the exclusive use of the Star. On this occasion, there were two headliners, so Montez and I took turns with the bed.

“En route to a gig in Newcastle, John had enough of Montez’s constant questions and roughed him up a bit — nothing violent, just letting off steam — part of the inevitable arguments during touring. After the Newcastle gig everyone was in the theater’s bar for sandwiches and drinks when John threw a beer at Montez, soaking the side of his head and jacket. George asked, ‘What did you do that for?’ and Lennon responded, ‘Bloody Hell, I haven’t got the price for another pint!’ ” (cont. below)


The tour finished in Leicester March 31, and they all returned to London as guests of Brian Epstein. Roe explained, “The next night while The Beatles played for the New Musical Express Awards concert at Wembley’s Empire Pool, Epstein proposed the possibility of becoming my manager and moving me to England. Felton Jarvis, who had produced my million-selling record “Sheila” for ABC-Paramount record company, suggested, “We’ll think it over on our six-day crossing back to New York.” (In 1962, “Sheila,” written by Roe, was #1 in the United States, Australia and Canada, reaching #3 in the U.K. charts. Jarvis was Elvis Presley’s record producer from 1966 until 1977. He and Roe were born in Atlanta, Ga.)

“Epstein, always persuasive and persistent, asked us to introduce a copy of The Beatles’ new album Please Please Me (released days before) to our record company in America. Felton, who had been on the tour, thought it a great idea and within seconds, Epstein produced the full promo pack — album, press releases, bios and photos — the works.

“On Thursday, April 4, we sailed from Southampton aboard the Queen Elizabeth. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was the first person to bring The Beatles to the United States, albeit in my guitar case. We disembarked at Pier 90 on the morning of April 9 and took a cab to ABC-Paramount, where president Samuel Clark greeted us like the returning prodigals. We were in fact bringing him the tour accounts!

“We had coffee in Sam’s office with national sales manager Larry Newton and the company’s A&R man, Don Costa. After the usual pleasantries, we enthusiastically presented Epstein’s promo pack to the assembled executives. Sam gave the package the once-over, then put the vinyl on the turntable. Side 1, track 1, “I Saw Her Standing There,” filled the room with that unmistakable Beatles sound. After a few minutes and less than complimentary looks passing between the execs, Sam suddenly snatched up the record and frizzbeed it into the trash bin saying, ‘Gentlemen that was crap!’ 

In that instant, Samuel Clark made the second biggest mistake in the history of the music industry. Clark admonished, “Now Tommy, you just get on with touring, writing and singing your songs and leave all the business decisions to us. Nice to see you, son. Have a nice day.”

Released in October, 1963 
'Everybody'  hit #3 in the U.S.
#3 Canada
#9 UK

To listen to 'Everybody' click here:

This was taken during the recording session for 'Everybody' 1963 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Roe headed in a new direction with his next release, 
'The Folk Singer.'
Released in 1963, it bombed in the U.S., 
charting at #84, but rose to #4 in the UK

To listen to 'The Folk Singer' click here:

'Come On' just made the Top 40 in 1964 (#36 U.S.), and for a time it began to look as if Tommy Roe would join many other U.S. recording stars that were swept away into obscurity by The Beatles and the ensuing 'British Invasion.'
 To listen to 'Come On' click here:

 Enlisted into The Army Reserves, 1964

Was this it?

 Was it over . .?


 N O T   S O   F A S T  !

'Sweet Pea' hits in 1966 and rises to #8 in the U.S., 
and #1 in Canada.

To listen to 'Sweet Pea' click here:

'Hooray For Hazel' followed in 1966 
and rose to #6 U.S., and #2 Canada 

To listen to 'Hooray For Hazel' click here:

'Sweet Pea' and 'Hooray For Hazel' would mark the beginning of a new popular music genre called, 'Bubblegum.' 

I'm sure Roe's label was much chagrined when he opted to abandon this 'bubblegum' formula on his next release.

'It's Now Winters Day' rose to #23 in the U.S. in 1967

To Listen to 'It's Now Winters Day' click here:

And then . . nothing

Would that be the last we'd hear of Mr. Tommy Roe?


It appears as if Tommy Roe has 9 lives . .

'Dizzy' burst on to the charts in 1969 and rose to 
#1 in the U.S., UK and Canada.
To listen to 'Dizzy' click here:

'Jam Up Jelly Tight' rose to #8 (U.S.) in 1970

To listen to 'Jam Up Jelly Tight' click here:

Tommy Roe was WAY back on top!  Here he performs on a television show with Engelbert Humperdinck - you know you've really made it when you're sharing the stage with Humperdinck!

Golfing with Bobby Goldsboro, Andy Williams and Glen Campbell (1970)

With Dick Clark on Bandstand (1970)


He continued to record new music throughout the '70's, but never managed to match his earlier chart successes.

Here's Tommy Roe more recently with his wife, Josette Banzet.

With Chris Montez in 2010

He's still performing . .

This photo shows Tommy Roe 
with his current band

And still recording . .

Check out 'Devil's Soul Pile' released in 2012

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   T O M M Y


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