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Friday, December 7, 2012


Boyd Bennett (December 7, 1924–June 2, 2002) was an American rockabilly songwriter and singer. His two biggest hit singles, both written and performed by him, were "Seventeen" with his band, the Rockets (U.S. No. 5); and "My Boy, Flat Top" (U.S. No. 39)."Seventeen" reached No. 16 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1955. He later became a disc jockey in Kentucky. Bennett was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for his contribution to the genre. Bennett was born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but attended high school in Tennessee and formed his first band there. He grew up in North Davidson, Tennessee, just outside Nashville. His family was musically oriented and very talented. His grandfather taught members of churches within the community how to read music. He also taught Boyd by the age of four years how to read the notes in music, before Boyd could actually read song lyrics. Growing up during the Great Depression, Bennet did anything he could to make money. He sang in quartets and played guitar and sang outside of bars for extra funds. At the age of 16, however, his career was interrupted by World War II in which he served for four years; and in his free time perfected his playing of the guitar. During the early 50's, Boyd Bennett and his "Rockets" performed consistently at local dances and on variety TV shows. In 1952, while working at WAVE-TV, Boyd came up with the brilliant idea of a musical variety show called "Boyd Bennett and His Space Buddies." For Foster Brooks, a famous comedian, this was his first big break in show business. The show was a take off of the "Gene Autrey Show". Instead of singing cowboys, it was singing space cadets. The humor, music, and originality made the show a great hit with local fans. Unfortunately, the owner of the station was not so farsighted and the show was canceled after only 7 shows. The next couple of years they performed at numerous dances and shows in the Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio area. Every Saturday night you could see 1,500 to 2,000 people in the Rustic Ballroom in Jasper, Indiana. Boyd and his group played there on a regular basis for a number of years. "Boyd Bennett and His Rockets" eventually came to the attention of Sid Nathan, owner of King Records. They produced a couple mediocre country hits Time and Hopeless Case. In 1955, the same year "Bill Haley and the Comets" topped the pop music chart with Rock Around the Clock, Boyd created a new sound while playing the drums during a number of recording sessions with such musicians as Earl Bostick, Bill Dogget, and "Otis Williams and the Charms" Boyd realized country music was not the best music for future success. He began to experiment with songs that would appeal to teenagers. Boyd and his band rented the King Record’s studio to produce revolutionary new songs. They recorded Poison Ivy, You Upset Me Baby and Boogie at Midnight. When sales topped 100,000 copies on each session, Boyd leased the masters to King Record Company. Singles were then re-released under King Records. They eventually signed Boyd to a contract. In 1955, "Boyd Bennett and His Rockets" hit pay dirt…tapped into the pot of gold, the goose that lays the golden eggs. They produced the chart topper, Seventeen and the rest is history. After World War II, Bennet worked as a disc jokey and a TV announcer. It was during this time that he started his band, The Rockets. With this band he performed and produced his two biggest songs: "Seventeen", one of the first songs to target teenage girls in rock and roll; and "My Boy, Flat Top" aimed at teenage boys. "Seventeen", his most popular single which sold over three million copies, launched his career.[citation needed] In 1955, Boyd, worked as a disc jockey, singer and announcer at a radio/TV station in Louisville, Kentucky. He performed a musical, comedy and variety show three times a week, along with his band, "The Rockets." One day, while at work, Boyd was inspired by a friend who had a 17 year-old daughter to write the song Seventeen. Boyd wrote the lyrics and music. They performed the song at dances. It was an immediate hit with their many fans. Seventeen created a new musical sound that was copied and enhanced by hundreds of artists and performers in the years to come. Teenage pop rock and roll fans became a consistent money maker for music industry executives. King Records executives liked the sound of this new music but were doubtful that it would ever sell…unsure of the record’s commercial appeal. They decided to lease the rights anyway, to produce the song Seventeen in March. It was one of the best financial decisions they ever made. Seventeen hit the charts in June and rocketed to the number one slot by September. Boyd and "the Rockets" traveled across the nation, performing their big hit to raving fans. It definitely was one of the best-selling records in King Records’ history. There were several cover versions that extended the release of the song. Over 3 million copies of Seventeen sold worldwide, making it one of the biggest sellers in the history of the record industry. Alan Freed, a famous disc jockey in New York, coined the term "Rock and Roll" after listening to Seventeen. Boyd and his band followed Seventeen with the song My Boy Flat Top that focused on teenage boys. Boyd and Jim Muzey, affectionately known as Big Moe sang this popular song. My Boy Flat Top ricocheted around the Top 40 for a number of months and was considered a respectable hit, although never attaining number one on the pop charts. Most people familiar with the early days of rock and roll realize Boyd’s songs revolutionized the music industry. Boyd, along with his band "The Rockets" created an entirely new sound that was duplicated and enhanced by other artists. Teenagers suddenly became a huge marketing focus. During his 24-year career in music, Boyd performed many country songs, but never received the recognition he deserved from country music fans probably because his music sounded more like the emerging rockabilly than the hardcore honky tonk sound. Bennett traveled around the world and played with many new bands. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame before his death in 2002. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

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