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Paul Fletcher
Buddy Knox
Buddy Knox
Buddy Knox was the first artist of the rock & roll era to write and record his own number one hit, 1957's million-selling classic "Party Doll" -- a pioneer of the Lone Star State rockabilly sound that would later earn the name "Tex-Mex," the arc of his career anticipated that of fellow Texan Buddy Holly, yet while Holly is now enshrined in the pantheon of rock's true immortals, Knox's contributions remain sadly underappreciated. Wayne Knox was born July 20, 1933 on a farm just outside the tiny West Texas town of Happy -- during World War II, his mother Gladys performed with her siblings as part of a family gospel group, although his love of country music first inspired him to pick up the guitar. After high school Knox attended West Texas State College, earning a business administration degree while moonlighting in an amateur vocal group called the Serenaders that also included double bassist Jimmy Bowen and guitarist Donny Lanier; in 1955, the trio rechristened themselves the Rhythm Orchids, so named after their purple shirts they wore on-stage. With the addition of drummer Don Mills, who first joined the Rhythm Orchids on-stage with nothing more than a pair of brushes and a cardboard box, the group's melancholy country covers acquired a swinging backbeat approximating something close to rock & roll, much to the delight of the assembled barroom patrons.
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