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Monday, 29 August 2016

Billy Myles born 29 August 1924


William Myles Nobles (August 29, 1924 – October 9, 2005),known as Billy Myles, was an American R&B songwriter and singer active in the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for writing "Tonight, Tonight" recorded by The Mello-Kings, "(You Were Made for) All My Love" recorded by Jackie Wilson (1960), and "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" recorded by Freddie King (1960), then Eric Clapton (1970). 

Billy Myles specialised in love ballads (sometimes in the doo-wop style) and 'Uptown Blues' songs, occasionally co-writing with vocalists such as Jackie Wilson and Brook Benton. Artists who recorded his songs include Wilson, Benton, Little Willie John, Freddie King and Gladys Knight. He has over 1170 works registered with the collecting society BMI. 

Billy Myles recorded singles for labels Ember, Dot and King, though his only chart hit was "The Joker (That's What They Call Me)", which charted in the U.S. and Canada (US Pop #25, R&B #13) in 1957. He was working as a staff songwriter for Al Silver's New York City-based Herald/Ember labels, Silver thought the song wasn't suitable for doo-wop act The Mello-Kings and issued Myles' own recording. The success of the single led to Myles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 (alongside Buddy Holly), and the 1959 UK film Swing Beat with label mates The Mello-Kings and The Five Satins.     Here's the B side to "The Joker"
 
 


One wonders just why it was that Billy Myles never became a huge recording star. His voice is pleasant enough, in the same manner as the lead singer for The Platters, but I suppose the record company he worked for, Ember Records, preferred that he keep writing the hit records instead of recording them. That would take too much away from his time with pen and paper.  

Blues guitar maestro Freddie King recorded Myles "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" in 1960, and King aficionado Eric Clapton covered the track on Derek and the Dominoes' album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970). This album is highly regarded in Clapton's catalogue and classic rock in general, with Myles' song, like the title song "Layla", having a biographical resonance with Clapton's unrequited love for Patti Harrison.


Billy Myles lived in Greenville, North Carolina and managed his music publishing company Selbon Music Inc. ('Nobles' spelled backwards) until his death in October 2005. The music publishing is now managed by his son Steven Myles Nobles. (Info Wikipedia)
 
"Heres a video of Billy singing his one hit wonder "The Joker". Quality is poor but it seems it's the only one available at the moment.
  

Sunday, 28 August 2016

John Perkins born 28 August 1931


John Perkins (top right in above photo)  (born August 28, 1931) was best known as the lead singer of The Crew Cuts. The Crew-Cuts were a Canadian vocal quartet, that made a number of popular records that charted in the United States and worldwide. They named themselves after the then popular crew cut haircut, one of
the first connections made between pop music and hairstyle. They were most famous for their recording of a cover version of The Chords hit record, "Sh-Boom." 

Other members of the Crew-Cuts were:   Rudi Maugeri (January 21, 1931 - May 7, 2004) (baritone),  Ray Perkins (born November 24, 1932) (bass) (John Perkins' brother)  and   Pat Barrett (born September 15, 1933) (1st or high tenor) 

They all had been members of the St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto, which also spawned another famous quartet, The Four Lads. Maugeri, John Perkins, and two others (Bernard Toorish and Connie Codarini) who later were among the Four Lads first formed a group called The Jordonaires (not to be confused with a similarly named group, The Jordanaires, that was known for singing backup vocals on Elvis Presley's hits) and also The Otnorots ("Toronto" spelled backwards being "Otnorot"), but they split from the group to finish high school. When the Four Lads returned to Toronto for a homecoming concert, John Perkins and Maugeri ran into each other and decided that they could themselves have a musical future. They joined with Barrett and Ray Perkins in March 1952. The group was originally called The Four Tones (not to be confused with The Four Tunes, a group on the borderline between pop music and rhythm and blues). 

A Toronto disk jockey, Barry Nesbitt, put them on his weekly teen show, whose audience gave the group a new name, The Canadaires. All four of the members were at the time working at jobs with the Ontario government, but quit their jobs to sing full-time. They worked clubs in the Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, NY area, but saved up their money and drove to New York City, so they could appear on Arthur Godfrey's television and radio program, Talent Scouts, where they came in second to a comedian. While they did get a record with Thrillwood Records and recorded a song titled "Chip, Chip Sing A Song Little Sparrow", this led to no improvement in their fortune, however, and they continued playing minor night clubs. 

In March 1953, they returned to Toronto and appeared as an opening act for Gisele MacKenzie at the Casino Theatre. She was impressed with them and commented favourably to her record label, but could not remember the group's name! 

They were playing in a Sudbury, Ontario, night club in a sub-zero Canadian winter when they received notice that they had been invited to appear as a guest on a Cleveland television program. They drove 600 miles at -40° temperatures to appear on the Gene Carroll show, where they remained for three appearances and also, while in Cleveland, met local disk jockey Bill Randle. On his show, on Cleveland AM radio station WERE, he coined the name that would from that point on belong to the group. In addition, Randle arranged for them to audition with Mercury Records, who liked them enough to sign the quartet to a contract. 

The name Crew Cuts refers to their short hair as opposed to long hair, which implied classical music at the time. It was a decade later that long hair came to be associated with the counter-culture movement.  

 

  
Although their first hit, "Crazy 'Bout You, Baby," was written by Maugeri and Barrett themselves, they quickly became specialists in cover recordings of originally-R&B songs. Their first cover, "Sh-Boom" (of which the R&B original was recorded by The Chords) hit #1 on the charts in 1954. A number of other hits followed including "Earth Angel" which rose to the number 2 spot on the charts and had great success in England and in Australia.
 
Interestingly, many of the non-cover songs of theirs that became hits in Canada were unknown in the United States of America, while it was only their covers that had great success in the United States. 

 
The group moved from Mercury to RCA Records in 1958 and eventually broke up in 1964. All the members would eventually move to the United States and in 1977 the members reunited in Nashville on the site of where they recorded some of their biggest hits. In the 1990's the Crew Cuts were inducted into the Juno Hall Of Fame and the original members once again reunited for the ceremony.
John Perkins
 
John Perkins is the Choir Director at St. Margaret Mary Church in Slidell, Louisiana; Rudi Maugeri worked as a radio station DJ host and programmer in New York and Los Angeles following the Crew Cuts split in 1964. After his 1979 retirement, he and his wife Marilyn opened a wellness centre in L.A. They moved to Las Vegas, where they opened a second branch, in 1990. Maugeri suffered from pancreatic cancer and died at his home on May 7, 2004, in Las Vegas. Pat Barrett lives in New Jersey where he continues to do some writing of music. 
(Info mainly Wikipedia)


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Martha Raye born 27 August 1916


Martha Raye (August 27, 1916 – October 19, 1994) was an American comic actress and singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She also acted in plays, including Broadway. She was honoured in 1969 with an Academy Award as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops.

Martha Raye was in Butte, Montana on August 27, 1916. She was an Academy Award-winning American comic actress and standards singer who performed in movies, and later on television. 

Raye's life as a singer and comedy performer began very early in her childhood. She was born at St James Hospital, as Margy Reed, where her Irish immigrant parents were performing at a local vaudeville theatre. Two days after Martha was born, her mother was back on stage, and Martha first appeared in their act when she was 3 years old, performing with her brother, Bud. 

 
She made her first film appearance in 1934 in a band short titled A Nite in the Nite Club. In 1936, she was signed for comic roles by Paramount Pictures, and made her first picture for Paramount. Her first feature film was Rhythm on the Range with Bing Crosby.  
 
Martha Raye was known for the size of her mouth, which appeared large in proportion to the rest of her face, thus earning her the nickname ‘The Big Mouth.’ Her mouth would come to relegate her motion picture work to largely supporting comic parts, and was often made up in such a way that it appeared even larger than it already was. 

Martha Raye had a lifelong fear of flying, but because of her profession was required to make numerous flights, which she could muster only after drinking herself into a near alcoholic stupor. Her drinking and conduct during these periods ended up with a number of airlines refusing her service, particularly on her many trips into the Miami, Florida area, which was her favourite vacation spot.   

During World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, she travelled extensively to entertain the American troops. Raye became an honorary Green Beret. Visited U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam without fanfare, she was affectionately known by Green Berets as “Colonel Maggie.” 
 
 

  

Raye was an early television star, she had her own program, The Martha Raye Show from 1954 to 1956 in which she was the lead and her awkward boyfriend was portrayed by retired boxer Rocky Graziano. Later, Raye served as the television spokesperson for Polident denture cleanser during the 1970's and 1980's. Raye's catch-phrase used in the vast majority of these ads was, “So take it from a big mouth, new Polident green gets tough stains clean.” 

She was married seven times, with most of her marriages lasting less than two years and her first marriage lasting only three months. She was married to Nick Condos from March 9, 1944 to June 17, 1953 which resulted in the birth of her only child, Melodye Raye Condos on July 26, 1944; and to Mark Harris from September 25, 1991 until her death in 1994. 

In November of 1993, after a long and drawn-out series of illnesses, Martha was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. The ceremony took place in their Bel Air home. Although several people close to Martha had worked since 1987 to see that this well-deserved recognition was bestowed upon Martha before her passing, Martha accepted her medal from a wheelchair. 

Raye was in the following feature films, beginning with Rhythm on the Range in 1936, The Big Broadcast of 1937, Hideaway Girl, Mountain Music, Artists & Models, Double or Nothing, The Big Broadcast of 1938, College Swing, Tropic Holiday, Give Me a Sailor, $1000 a Touchdown, The Boys from Syracuse, Four Jills in a Jeep, Pin Up Girl, the documentary No Substitute for Victory, Pufnstuf and The Concorde: Airport '79 in 1979. Raye also starred in A Nite in a Nite Club in 1934 and Cinema Circus in 1937.. 

As for TV shows, Raye acted in Four Star Revue (host from 1951 to 1953) The Martha Raye Show from 1954 to 1956, The Judy Garland Show, The Bugaloos, Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol, The Gossip Columnist, Pippin: His Life and Times , Alice (a cast member from 1982 to 1984) and Alice in Wonderland in 1985.


Raye's final years were spent dealing with ongoing health problems. She suffered from Alzheimer's and had lost both legs in 1993 due to circulatory problems. She died of pneumonia at 78 on October 19, 1994 in Los Angeles. 

In appreciation of her work with the USO during World War II and subsequent wars she was buried with full military honours in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.    (Info mainly montanakids.com)
 

Friday, 26 August 2016

Lester Lanin born 26 August 1907



Nathaniel Lester Lanin (August 26, 1907 – October 27, 2004) was an American jazz and pop music bandleader. He was famous for long, smoothly arranged medleys, at a consistent rhythm and tempo, which were designed for continuous dancing. Lanin's career began in the late 1920s and his popularity increased through the advent of the LP era. Starting with Epic Records in the middle of the 1950s, he recorded a string of albums for several labels, many of which hit the US Billboard 200. 

Lanin's brothers, Sam and Howard, were also both bandleaders; they came from a family of ten (of which Lester was the youngest) born to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants. He started playing the piano and drums at the age of 5.He originally attended South Philadelphia High School but quit at the age of 15 to play music with his brothers abandoning his plans to be an attorney. Beginning in 1927, he led ensembles that were paid to play at the houses of wealthy socialites in Philadelphia and New York, continuing after the 1929 stock market crash. 

In 1930, Lanin was hired to play at a gala for Barbara Hutton, and the event garnered so much press in New York newspapers that it made Lanin a star as well as the young heiress. His fast, two-beat dance tempo - what is called the businessman's bounce - became a standard by which society bands are measured.

Lanin became a major star of the dance music world, and was hired worldwide to play for dignitaries and monarchs. Lanin was managed for much of his career by New York socialite music promoter Al Madison. 

He epitomized a fading species, the society bandleader. He played at the homes of the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, duPonts, Chryslers and Mellons. He played every presidential inauguration since Eisenhower's, except two, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. He played for Queen Elizabeth's 60th birthday party, as well as for the kings of Norway, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Sweden.
 

           Here's "Hootenany Medley" from above 1964 album.
 

 

 He was in such demand that people would often book him for their affairs, sometimes as much as, 18 years in advance. He claimed to invent the concept of playing continuous music at a party, and he is legendary for never leaving the bandstand during a dance. He was, he said, in "the happiness business", and gave away cotton hats bearing his name at every dance - 50,000 of them every year. 

According to Lanin, one of his most memorable performances was playing at a party for avant-garde rock musician Frank Zappa. This was reported by Billboard magazine in 1974. At the time Mr. Zappa was in New York City to play two Halloween concerts at the Felt Forum (now known as The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.) 

 
Mr. Lanin once loved a very young dancer named Dottie Littlefield, who died tragically at 23, he said in an interview with the London Sunday Mail in 1985. Her favourite song was "Night and Day." He started every evening with that song for 30 years.

He and his bands (he sometimes had more than a dozen on the road at once) by 1992 had played 20,000 wedding receptions, 7,500 parties, 4,500 proms, and recorded over 30 albums. By 1978 he employed some 1650 musicians in 45 bands as the Lester Lanin Music Corp.

Lanin also played for other celebrities, including a wedding for Billy Joel. Lanin continued performing well into the 1990s. In 1999 he played himself in the black-and-white film comedy Man of the Century, where he was the favourite musician of lead character Johnny Twennies. 

He was inducted into the Big Band Hall Of Fame in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1993 and retired from band leading in 2001. Lester Lanin died at his home in Manhattan on October 27, 2004, age 97.

He was married once, to an actress and former Miss Texas, but he told The Times that the marriage fell apart because she "spent more time on the road than I did."

(Info mainly edited from Wikipedia & bio by Randy Hise & nytimes obit)

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Carrie Smith born 25 August 1925


Carrie Louise Smith (August 25, 1925 – May 20, 2012) was an American blues diva and distinctive jazz singer who straddled both worlds with commendable aplomb.

Although her early career was largely small-scale, her breakthrough came when she played the role of Bessie Smith in a well-received performance at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1974, kickstarting a lengthy association with the pianist Dick Hyman's projects and frequent visits to Europe, including the UK. Even so, her greatest success came when she starred in the hit Broadway musical Black and Blue, a revue celebrating black jazz, blues and dance, from 1989 to 1991. 

Once described by Scott Yanow as a "blues belter in the classic tradition", Smith was born in Fort Gaines, in rural Georgia, but raised in the bustling city of Newark, New Jersey, where her African-American family relocated when she was seven. Her father was a Baptist minister, her mother a keen choir singer, and Smith herself was steeped in gospel music from an early age. "From my childhood I was brought up in the church," she told the writer Chip Deffaa, also recalling a favourite aunt as "a barrelhouse mama who used to have all Bessie Smith's records. I really got into Bessie because I loved her voice." 

Having had to juggle factory work with her gospel engagements, Shelton's appreciative comments emboldened Smith to give up her sewing job and to make for Los Angeles. Appearing on the Art Linkletter House Party TV show, she attracted the attention of ragtime pianist Big Tiny Little and joined his popular combo, touring nationally and learning to sing blues. Arriving in New Orleans, she stayed on as featured singer with trumpeter Al Hirt's group, eventually heading to New York, where she performed with the jazz trombonist Tyree Glenn's sextet in the Americana hotel in 1970, later taking jazz jobs with the pianist Hank Jones and the saxophonist Buddy Tate. 

When the promoter George Wein selected her to portray Bessie Smith in his 1974 Carnegie Hall presentation Satchmo Remembered, Smith felt well and truly ready. "That's when people really began to know who I was," she said. Thereafter she travelled regularly with Hyman's New York Jazz Repertory Company orchestra, playing the Nice festival often and touring in the USSR, recording with jazz musicians of high calibre, her vocal richness and on-stage zest a welcome calling card. She appeared at Ronnie Scott's several times in the 1970s and was constantly busy in France, her "no-nonsense, swinging style", in the words of Max Jones, and cheery, stage presence pleasing audiences everywhere.  She was a singer of considerable range and depth, as recordings like 1976's Do Your Duty and the following year's When You're Down and Out prove.
 
 
   Here's "Nobody Love's You When You're Down And Out"
                                from above 1977 album.
 

 

 Given her mastery of the classic blues idiom and delight in performing old vaudeville songs, she was a natural choice for the two-year run of Black and Blue, a valuable experience even if she did find the backstage bickering among her co-stars something of a pain. After that, Smith toured with her own group, headed by the pianist Bross Townsend, making her final UK appearance in 1997 at the Brecon jazz festival and continuing to appear in US clubs and at festivals until illness forced her to retire in 2004.

Briefly married to a "small-time hustler" identified only as Swindler Joe, Smith was confined in recent years by a series of mini-strokes to the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey where she died from cancer on May 20, 2012, age 86. (Info mainly Peter Vacher obit @ the Guardian.com)
 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Claude Hopkins born 24 August 1903


Claude Driskett Hopkins (August 24, 1903 – February 19, 1984) was an American jazz stride pianist and bandleader. 
 
 
Claude Hopkins was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1903. Historians differ in respect of the actual date of his birth. His parents were on the faculty of Howard University. A highly talented stride piano player and arranger, he left home at the age of only 21 as a sideman with the Wilbur Sweatman Orchestra but stayed less than a year. In 1925, he left for Europe as the musical director of The Revue Negre which starred Josephine Baker with Sidney Bechet in the band. 
 

He returned to the USA in 1927 where, based in Washington, he toured the TOBA circuit with The Ginger Snaps Revue before heading once again for NYC where he took over the band of Charlie Skeets. Between 1932-1935, he recorded steadily with his big band, which featured Jimmy Mundy arrangements and such fine soloists as trumpeter/vocalist Ovie Alston, trombonist Fernando Arbello, a young Edmond Hall on clarinet, and baritone and tenorman Bobby Sands, along with the popular high-note vocals of Orlando Roberson.  

The orchestra's recordings are a bit erratic, with more than their share of mistakes from the ensembles and a difficulty in integrating Hopkins' powerhouse piano with the full group, but they are generally quite enjoyable. Mundy's eccentric "Mush Mouth" is a classic, and Hopkins introduced his best-known original, "I Would Do Anything for You."
 
 
 


Although they played regularly at Roseland (1931-1935) and the Cotton Club (1935-1936), and there were further sessions in 1937 and 1940, the Claude Hopkins big band never really caught on and ended up breaking up at the height of the swing era. Hopkins did lead a later, unrecorded big band (1944-1947), but mostly worked with small groups for the remainder of his career.  

Next, he led a "novelty quintet" on tour in 1948-49 and a combo at Cafe Society in New York City in 1950-51, then, during the next three decades, worked with various musicians as a pianist at club, concert, and festival performances (such as trumpeter Roy Eldridge's group at Jimmy Ryan's in New York City for several years, or later when Hopkins toured Europe with trombonist Dicky Wells and saxophonist Earle Warren, who had been part of Count Basie's orchestra in the 1930s and '40s).   

 In 1970, Gene Fernett authored a book celebrating many prominent African-American orchestras, including Hopkins', and commented, "Hopefully, there may come a day when he will choose to once again front a big band." That didn't happen, but Hopkins had continued to record, making some enjoyable LPs for the Swingville label in the 1960s ("Yes, Indeed!"; "Let's Jam"; and "Swing Time"), and, in 1973, a fine solo piano album on Chiaroscuro ("Crazy Fingers"). 

Often under-rated in later years, he was one of jazz's most important band leaders and has yet to be given full recognition for his achievements. He died on 19 February 1984, a disillusioned and dispirited man. 

Looking back on Hopkins' career, critics Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler later wrote that he had remained a "master of stride with a lyrical bent and consistent sense of swing."  It is surprising that his piano skills were not more extensively documented.

(Info edited from Wikipedia, Oldies.com, All Music & Big Band Library)

Claude Hopkins Orchestra featuring Orlando Roberson and The Four Step Brothers from a film short from 1933 "Babershop Blues".
 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Rudy Lewis born 23 August 1935


Rudy Lewis (born Charles Rudolph Harrell; August 23, 1936 – May 20, 1964) was an American rhythm and blues singer known for his work with the Drifters. In 1988, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 
 
Lewis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began his singing career in gospel music. He was one of only two males to have sung with the Clara Ward Singers and sang with the gospel group right up to the day before he auditioned for George Treadwell at Philadelphia's Uptown Theatre where he was hired on the spot. Lewis joined the Drifters in 1960 as lead vocalist and moved to New York City.

Rudy Lewis is probably the most underrated of all the Drifters' lead singers. He had the bad fortune to come in after Ben E. King redefined the group's sound, and never got the recognition that King did. By the time that "Save the Last Dance For Me" hit the charts (autumn 1960), King had already recorded his first solo session and was about to emerge as a hit maker in his own right. His successor in the Drifters was Rudy Lewis, a man with a rich, soulful voice.  
 
Lewis brought the newly emergent voice of "soul" to the Drifters at the very time the group was being directed out of their R&B roots into the pop mainstream. The stature of the Drifters was such that all NYC publishers scrambled to get their best numbers recorded by the group. Thus The Drifters came to record songs from the top pop composers of the day : Carole King and Gerry Goffin , Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
 



Lewis was the lead vocalist for a string of hits: "Please Stay", "Some Kind of Wonderful", "Up On The Roof" and "On 
Broadway". He also featured on other tracks such as: "Another Night With The Boys", "Beautiful Music", "Jackpot", "Let The Music Play", "Loneliness Or Happiness", "Mexican Divorce", "Only In America", "Rat Race", "She Never Talked To Me That Way", "Somebody New Dancing With You", "Stranger On The Shore", "Vaya Con Dios" and "What To Do". 

This was the golden era of Brill Building pop. "Up On The Roof" and "On Broadway" went Top 10 and "Please Stay" and "Sweets For My Sweet" made the Top 20.; After mid-1963 their sessions would be supervised by Bert Berns.

In April 1963, Lewis recorded his solo single ”Baby I Dig Love” along with the B-side ”I've Loved You So Long”. The record was released the following month, but never reached the charts.  

On May 21, 1964, when the group was due to record ”Under The Boardwalk” which had been written for Lewis, he was found dead in his Harlem hotel room from the prior night. Former lead vocalist Johnny Moore was brought back to perform lead vocals for the recording. The next day, the Drifters recorded”I Don't Want To Go On Without You” which was led by Charlie Thomas in tribute to Lewis. 

 
An autopsy was never performed and authorities ruled his death as a probable drug overdose. However, close friends and family believe he died from a mixture of a drug overdose, asphyxiation and a heart attack .Others who knew him say that Lewis, who was a binge eater, choked to death in his sleep. After Rudy died, the make-up of the Drifters stabilized for two years at: Johnny Moore, Charlie Thomas, Gene Pearson, and Johnny Terry. Dying at the age of 27 made Lewis an early member of the 27 Club. 

(Info mainly edited from Wikipedia and Black Cat Rockabilly)

 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Carl Mann born 22 August 1942


Carl Mann (born August 22, 1942, Huntingdon, Tennessee) is an American rockabilly singer and pianist. 


Carl Mann was born in Huntingdon, TN, on August 22, 1942. He grew up in a strongly rural area, where his family ran a lumber

business, and fell in love with country music as a child. He began singing in church at age nine and soon moved on to performing country songs at area talent contests. He learned guitar at age ten, and piano at 13, by which time he'd already become a regular on local radio. He also formed a band with several other young musicians, and soon took an interest in the R&B and rockabilly records that some of his DJ friends played on the radio, especially those of Elvis Presley.  

In 1957, Mann successfully auditioned for the Jaxon label and cut his debut single, "Gonna Rock and Roll Tonight" b/w "Rockin' Love"; those sides marked his first collaborations with guitarist Eddie Bush, who would become an important member of Mann's band, and assisted him on his rearrangement of "Mona Lisa." Mann cut several more unreleased sides for Jaxon over the next year, and caught a break when Carl Perkins' drummer Bill "Fluke" Holland offered to become his manager. Holland brought Mann to Sun Records in 1959, and Sam Phillips signed him to a three-year deal.
 
Mann cut his take on "Mona Lisa" early that year, and while Phillips wasn't keen on releasing it as a single, Conway Twitty heard the demo tape and quickly cut his own version, which began climbing the charts. Phillips hurriedly issued Mann's, which battled Twitty's all the way up the pop charts. Both hit the Top 30, and while they tended to cancel each other out in terms of placement, Mann's wound up selling over a million copies; and he wasn't even 17 years old. 

Despite the newfound stardom and several TV appearances, "Mona Lisa" turned out to be the pinnacle of Mann's commercial success. At first, he tried to repeat the formula by rocking up other vintage pop standards, which failed to return him to the Top 40, and perhaps even obscured the virtues of original tunes like "I'm Coming Home." Mann also wasn't helped by the fact that he'd appeared at the tail end of rockabilly's prime, or that Charlie Rich had taken his place as Sun's rising new star.
 
 


Mann's first album, Like Mann, was released in 1960, but sold disappointingly, and he began to develop a drinking problem that necessitated some time away from music. In 1964, he was drafted into the Army; upon returning to the U.S., he signed with the Monument label, but the single "Down to My Last 'I Forgive You'" failed to return him to prominence. Mann soon left music to return to his family's business, settling down with a wife and finally overcoming his problems with alcohol.

In 1974, Mann attempted a comeback singing straight country material; he issued several singles over the next few years on ABC and Dot, but they didn't fit in with the slick countrypolitan records then dominating the charts. In 1977, Mann got an offer from the Dutch label Rockhouse to record for European audiences; he issued a couple of albums on that label, 1978's half-live/half-studio Gonna Rock'n'Roll Tonight and 1981's In Rockabilly Country. Mann toured periodically during the '80s, returning to Europe every so often, and finally retired to concentrate on the family logging business.  

Mann came out of music retirement in 2005, performing on the local Huntingdon Hayride radio show in his hometown. Also 2005 was the year in which he finally received a Gold Disc for "Mona Lisa". He continues to perform overseas and in the states, and record. A CD called Rockabilly Highway, featuring Mann, and Sun Records label mates W. S. Holland and Rayburn Anthony, was released in 2008. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, TN, in 2006.  

He had a two-bypass heart operation in January 2011, was hospitalised with breathing problems in April but slowly regained his strength.

 
In May 2011 a book on his life and music career called The Last Son of Sun was released. Mann continues to perform to date. Sun Record showcases in Las Vegas, "Viva Las Vegas" at Orleans Hotel in Vegas. Nashville's "Ink and Iron", and other venues. When dates allow his son Richard Mann joins him on stage to carry on the family tradition. Carl Mann's love for performing to his audiences keeps him coming back to do more shows. He still resides in Huntingdon, TN.  (Info mainly All Music & Wikipedia)