Airdate – Sep 25, 2022
One of the most popular and successful artists of the late 50s and the early to mid-60s was Jimmie Rodgers. He had a number of Top Ten hits. However, his only #1 record was actually a cover version of a song first performed in 1954 by another pop artist …
Vocalist/guitarist/pianist Jimmie Rodgers was born in Camas, Washington in 1933. He proved to be one of Roulette Records most successful artist, charting no less than 25 times on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1957 through 1967.
Unfortunately, his compensation did not measure up to that success. His constant battle over insufficient royalty payments with the head of Roulette, music mogul Morris Levy, is well documented.
In 1967 he suffered traumatic head injuries after the car he was driving was stopped by an off-duty police officer near the San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles who subsequently called for backup. Rodgers and his supporters still believe that one or more of the police officers beat him, although other observers, including the LAPD and the LA District Attorney, rejected this claim.
In his 2010 biography ‘Me, the Mob, and the Music,’ singer Tommy James wrote that Morris Levy, who was connected to the Mafia, had arranged the attack in response to Rodgers’ repeated demands for unpaid royalties he was due by the label.
Miraculously, Rodgers recovered and lived another 54 years, performing live until his passing in 2021 at the age of 87.
Who can forget these great songs by him: “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” Oh-Oh, I’m Falling in Love Again,” “Secretly,” “Bimbombey,” and “Are You Really Mine.”
Yet it all started with his debut record in 1957 when he released a cover of a Georgie Shaw recording that Decca initially put out on a 78 in 1954 – a recording that failed to chart.
Rodgers’ arrangement was met with great appeal in 1957 and hit the #1 position in the fall of that year, remaining on the charts for 28 straight weeks.
It proved to be a song that many could relate to – especially men who were so thankful to have a “Honeycomb,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song: