Jimmie Rodgers (pop singer)

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Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers 1968.JPG
Rodgers in 1968
Background information
Birth nameJames Frederick Rodgers
Born(1933-09-18) September 18, 1933 (age 80)
Camas, Washington, United States
GenresFolk
Traditional pop music
Rock and roll
OccupationsSinger
Years active1957–present
LabelsRoulette
Dot
A&M
 
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Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers 1968.JPG
Rodgers in 1968
Background information
Birth nameJames Frederick Rodgers
Born(1933-09-18) September 18, 1933 (age 80)
Camas, Washington, United States
GenresFolk
Traditional pop music
Rock and roll
OccupationsSinger
Years active1957–present
LabelsRoulette
Dot
A&M

James Frederick "Jimmie" Rodgers (born September 18, 1933 in Camas, Washington, United States) is an American singer. He is not related to the country singer of the same name.

Career[edit]

Rodgers was taught music by his mother, learned to play the piano and guitar, and joined a band called "The Melodies" started by violinist Phil Clark, while he served in the United States Air Force in Korea.

Like a number of other entertainers of the era, he was one of the contestants on Arthur Godfrey's talent show on the radio. When Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore left RCA Victor for Morris Levy's company, Roulette Records, they became aware of Rodgers' talent and signed him up.

In the summer of 1957, he recorded a song called "Honeycomb", which had been recorded by Bob Merrill and Georgie Shaw three years earlier. The tune was Rodgers' biggest hit, staying on the top of the charts for four weeks. The following year, he had a number of other hits that reached the Top 10 on the charts: "Kisses Sweeter than Wine", "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again", "Secretly", and "Are You Really Mine". Other hits include "Bo Diddley", "Bimbombey", "Ring-a-ling-a-lario", "Tucumcari," "Tender Love and Care (T.L.C)", and a version of Waltzing Matilda as a film tie-in with the apocalyptic movie On the Beach.

In the United Kingdom, "Honeycomb" reached Number 30 in the UK Singles Chart in November 1957, but "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" climbed to Number 7 the following month.[1]

In 1958, he appeared on NBC's The Gisele MacKenzie Show. Also in 1958 he sang the opening theme song of the movie The Long, Hot Summer, starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Orson Welles. He then had his own short-lived televised variety show on NBC.

His biggest hit in the UK was "English Country Garden", a version of the folk song "Country Gardens", which reached Number 5 in the chart in June 1962.[1] In 1962, he moved to the Dot label, and four years later to A&M Records. He also appeared in some movies, including The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, opposite Neil Hamilton, and Back Door to Hell, which he helped finance.

In 1966, a long dry spell ended for Rodgers when he re-entered the Top 40 with "It's Over" (later to be recorded by Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell and Sonny James). In 1967, he had his final charting Top 100 single, "Child of Clay".

Head injuries, surgeries, lawsuits and aftermath[edit]

On December 1, 1967, Jimmie Rodgers 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. He had a fractured skull and required several surgeries. Initial reports in the newspapers attributed his injuries to a severe beating with a blunt instrument by unknown assailants.[2][3] Rodgers had no specific memory of how he had been injured, remembering only that he had seen blindingly bright lights from a car pulling up behind him.[4] A few days later, the Los Angeles Police Department stated that off-duty LAPD officer Michael Duffy (later identified in the press as Richard Duffy) had stopped him for erratic driving, and that Rodgers had stumbled, fallen and hit his head. According to the police version, Duffy then called for assistance from two other officers, and the three of them put the unconscious Rodgers into his car and left the scene.[5] This account was supported by the treating physicians who had first blamed the skull fracture on a beating; by the latter part of December, they concluded that Rodgers had in fact fallen and that had caused his injuries.[6] The following month, Rodgers filed an $11 million lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming that the three officers had beaten him.[7] The police and the L.A. County District Attorney rejected these claims, although the three officers were given two-week suspensions for improper procedures in handling the case, particularly their leaving the injured Rodgers alone in his car. (He was later found by a worried friend.)[8][9] The three officers and the LA Fire and Police Protective League filed a $13 million slander suit against Rodgers for his public statements accusing them of brutality.[10] Neither suit came to trial; the police slander suit was dropped, and in 1973 Rodgers elected to accept a $200,000 settlement from the Los Angeles City Council, which voted to give him the money rather than to incur the costs and risks of further court action.[11] Rodgers and his supporters still believe that one or more of the police officers beat him, although other observers find the evidence inconclusive.[12][13] In his 2010 biography "Me, the Mob, and the Music," singer Tommy James wrote that Morris Levy, the Mafia-connected head of Roulette Records, had arranged the attack. All of Rodgers' most successful singles had been released by Roulette.[14]

Recovery from his injuries caused an approximately year-long period in which Rodgers ceased to perform. He eventually returned, though not reaching the Top 100 singles chart again. He did, however, make an appearance on the album chart as late as 1969, and his records hit the Billboard Country and Easy Listening charts until 1979. Also, during the summer of 1969, he made a brief return to network television with a summer variety show on ABC (which later bought the rights to Rodgers' Dot Records releases, now owned by Universal Music Group).

Rodgers and his first wife Colleen (née McClatchey) divorced in 1970, and she died May 20, 1977.[15] They had two children, Michael and Michelle. He had remarried in 1970, and Jimmie and Trudy Rodgers had two sons, Casey and Logan. He and Trudy divorced in the late 1970s, and he remarried again. Jimmie and Mary Rodgers are still married today, and they have a daughter, Katrine, who was born in 1989.

Rodgers appeared in a 1999 video, Rock & Roll Graffiti by American Public Television, along with about 20 other performers. He stated that he had suffered from spastic dysphonia for a number of years, and could hardly sing. Nevertheless, he gave a try at "Honeycomb", and he mentioned that he had a show in Branson, Missouri.

Rodgers returned to Camas, Washington in 2011 and 2012, performing to sell-out crowds. After the 2012 concert, he returned home for open heart surgery, following a heart attack three weeks earlier.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

YearAlbumChart PositionsLabel
USCAN
1957Jimmie Rodgers15Roulette
1958The Number One Ballads
Jimmie Rodgers Sings Folk Songs
1959Jimmie Rodgers… His Golden Year
Jimmie Rodgers TV Favorites, Volume 1
Twilight on the Trail
It's Christmas Once Again
1960When the Spirit Moves You
At Home with Jimmie Rodgers
1961The Folk Song World of Jimmie Rodgers
15 Million Sellers
1962No One Will Ever KnowDot
1963Jimmie Rodgers in Folk Concert
My Favorite Hymns
Honeycomb & Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
The World I Used to Know
196412 Great Hits
1965Deep Purple
Christmas with Jimmie Rodgers
1966That Nashville Sound
Country Music 1966
It's Over145
1967Love Me, Please Love Me
Golden Hits
Child of Clay162A&M
1969The Windmills of Your Mind18392
1970Troubled Times
1978Yesterday/TodayScrimshaw

Singles[edit]

YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
USUS CountryUS R&BUS ACCANCAN AC
1957"Honeycomb"171Jimmie Rodgers
"Kisses Sweeter Than Wine"368
1958"Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again"7519Jimmie Rodgers… His Golden Year
"The Long Hot Summer"77
"Secretly"357
"Make Me a Miracle"16flip7
"Are You Really Mine?"1013
"The Wizard"45
"Bimbombey"11
1959"Because You're Young"62
"I'm Never Gonna Tell"36
"Ring-a-Ring a Lario"32singles only
"Wonderful You"40
"Tucumcari"32
"Wistful Willie"112
"T.L.C. Tender Love and Care"24
"Waltzing Matilda"41
1960"Just a Closer Walk with Thee"44When the Spirit Moves You
"The Wreck of John B."64At Home with Jimmie Rodgers
"Woman from Liberia"singles only
1961"When Love Is Young"
"Everytime My Heart Sings"
"I'm Goin' Home"
"A Little Dog Cried"7116The Folk Song World of Jimmie Rodgers
1962"You Are Everything to Me"single only
"No One Will Ever Know"4314No One Will Ever Know
"Rainbow at Midnight"6216singles only
1963"Afraid"
"Face in Crowd"129
"(I Don't Know Why) I Just Do"
"Poor Little Raggedy Ann"
1964"Together"
"Mama Was a Cotton Picker"131The World I Used to Know
"2-10, 6-18"78
"Someplace Green"
"The World I Used to Know"519
"Water Boy"
1965"Two Tickets"single only
"Strangers"Deep Purple
"Careless Love"singles only
"Little School Girl"
"Bye, Bye Love"The Nashville Sound
1966"A Fallen Star"single only
"It's Over"37529It's Over
"Young Idea"single only
"Wonderful You"Love Me, Please Love Me
1967"Time"It's Over
"I'll Say Goodbye"20Child of Clay
"Child of Clay"3121
"What a Strange Town"single only
1968"You Pass Me By"Child of Clay
"How Do You Say Goodbye"
"I Believed It All"25
"Today"1041980
1969"I'll Never Fall in Love Again"The Windmills of Your Mind
"The Windmills of Your Mind"123
"Me About You"
"Tomorrow Is My Friend"3928single only
1970"Dum Dum Song"Troubled Times
1971"Daylight Lights the Dawning"singles only
1972"Go On By"
"Froggy's Fable"30
1977"A Good Woman Likes to Drink with the Boys"67Yesterday/Today
1978"Everytime I Sing a Love Song"74
"When Our Love Began"
"Secretly"6546singles only
1979"Easy to Love"89
"Easy" (with Michele)flip

Films[edit]

Rodgers parlayed his singing fame into a brief movie career with lead performances in:

Jimmie sang the song entitled "Half Sung Song" in the 1977 comedy film The Billion Dollar Hobo, starring Tim Conway.

Television[edit]

In the mid-1960s, he re-recorded (with altered tunes and words referring to the products) two of his best-known songs, for use in television advertisements:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 467. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Singer Hospitalized," Spartanburg (SC) Herald, December 2, 1967, p. 8. AP wire service story.
  3. ^ "Rodgers Has Rush Surgery After Relapse," The Modesto Bee, December 8, 1967, p. A-2. UPI wire service story.
  4. ^ "Show Business," The Milwaukee Journal, December 22, 1967, p. 10.
  5. ^ "Jimmie Rodgers' Injury Linked to Fall," The Pittsburgh Press,December 20, 1967, p. 11. UPI wire service story.
  6. ^ "New Disclosure Hints Rodgers Hurt By Fall," The Modesto Bee, December 20, 1967, p. C-9. AP wire service story.
  7. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits: Updated and Expanded 5th Edition. New York: Billboard Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-823-07677-2. 
  8. ^ "Officers Suspended in Injury to Singer,"Spokane Spokesman-Review, January 5, 1968, p. 2. Los Angeles Times story reprint.
  9. ^ "Officers Cleared of Assault on Singer Jimmie Rodgers," The Tuscaloosa (AL) News, March 28, 1968, p. 28. Los Angeles Times story reprint. 1973 news reports refer to his "$10.2 million lawsuit."
  10. ^ Villasenor, Rudy, "Now Jimmie Rodgers Being Sued -- for $13 Million," The Tuscaloosa News, April 11, 1968, p. 5. Los Angeles Times story reprint.
  11. ^ "Folk Singer Settles Suit for $200,000," St. Petersburg (FL) Times, August 23, 1973, p. 15-A. UPI wire service story.
  12. ^ Rogers, John, "Nashville Sound: Jimmie Rodgers," AP Newsarchive, January 13, 1999. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Biography--Jimmie Rodgers," imdb.com. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  14. ^ James, Tommy, Me, the Mob, and the Music, Scribner Publishing, 2010, pg. 205
  15. ^ "Death of Singer's Wife Being Probed," Lodi News-Sentinel, May 23, 1977, p. 10. UPI wire service story.
  16. ^ Wyman, Carolyn (2004). Better Than Homemade. Philadelphia, PA: Quirk Books. p. 124. 

External links[edit]