Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9: Tommy Roe - “Sheila” “Everybody,” “Dizzy”- is 71-years-old today.

Thomas David Roe, was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He wrote, co-wrote, and recorded, six top ten hits between 1962, and 1969, more than any other single artist/songwriter during this period of the 60's, with four RIAA certified gold records.

Two of his hits, "Sheila" (1962) and "Dizzy" (1969), hit # 1 on the Billboard chart. Roe had a total of eleven records reach the Billboard top forty, and twenty three Billboard top 100 chart records. With similar chart success in England, and throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia, Tommy is considered one of the early pioneers of American pop culture.

Music critic Bill Dahl wrote that Roe was "widely perceived as one of the archetypal bubblegum artists of the late 1960s, but Roe cut some pretty decent rockers along the way, especially early in his career."

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Tommy Roe - Greatest Hits [Curb]

Tommy started singing and writing songs at the age of fourteen. In high school, Tommy, and two friends, Mike Clark and Bobby West, formed a band called The Satins. In addition to neighborhood gigs, Tommy and The Satins played high school dances, and fraternity parties at Georgia Tech, and the university of Georgia.

During this time, Tommy met Felton Jarvis, who would soon become his producer. After graduating from high school, he took a job at General Electric soldering wires.

In February, 1962, Tommy along with Felton Jarvis, and his new manager, Bill Lowery, drove from Atlanta to Nashville, and recorded two songs; "Save Your Kisses," and "Sheila." The single was released, and "Sheila" soon became the number one hit around the world.

When "Sheila" became a hit, ABC-Paramount Records asked him to go on tour to promote the hit. He was reluctant to give up his secure job at GE until ABC-Paramount advanced him $5,000.

The following year Roe scored a Top 10 hit with "Everybody", which reached US #3 and UK #9, and the critically acclaimed "The Folk Singer" (#4 UK) written by Merle Kilgore was also popular. However in March 1963, the UK music magazine NME reported that he and Chris Montez had both been upstaged by The Beatles and their fans on a 21-day UK tour.

Following a more successful tour of the United Kingdom by his friend Roy Orbison, Roe toured there and then moved to England where he lived for several years. In 1964 Roe recorded a self-penned song, "Diane From Manchester Square", with his backing group at the time, the Roemans. It was a story in song about a girl called Diane who worked in an upstairs office at EMI House when it was based in London's Manchester Square. Sales of this single in the UK were poor, and it failed to chart. In 1965, he and Jerry Lee Lewis combined with Orbison to create an album for the Pickwick International label.

During the 1960s, he had several more Top 40 hits, including 1966's #6 "Hooray for Hazel" (#2 Canada) and #8 "Sweet Pea" (#1 Canada). In 1969, his song "Dizzy" went to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, #1 in Canada, as well as to Billboard's #1 in the U.S. This transatlantic chart-topper sold two million copies by mid-April 1969, giving him his third gold disc award. His final Top 10 single, a track co-written with Freddy Weller, "Jam Up and Jelly Tight," was another gold record, peaking at #8 in the U.S. and #5 in Canada.

The 1968 song written by Merle Kilgore called The Folk Singer is allegedly about Tommy Roe.

In 1986, he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Although his style of music declined in popularity with the 1970s mass market, he maintained a following and continues to perform at a variety of concert venues, sometimes with 1960s nostalgia rock and rollers such as Freddy Cannon and Bobby Vee.


For more about Tommy, visit his Website at -


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