|Birth name||Buddy Wayne Knox|
|Born||July 20, 1933|
|Died||February 14, 1999 (aged 65)|
Knox was born in the tiny farming community of Happy, Texas and as a boy learned to play the guitar. In his teens, he and some high school friends formed a band called the "Rhythm Orchids." After performing on the same 1956 radio show as fellow Texan Roy Orbison and his "Teen Kings" band, Orbison suggested Knox go see record producer Norman Petty at his studio in Clovis, New Mexico, the same studio where the legendary Buddy Holly recorded several of his early hits including "That'll Be The Day".
Knox recorded three songs at Petty's studio, most notably "Party Doll" that later was released on the Roulette label and went to No.1 on the Cash Box magazine music chart in 1957. This success was followed by "Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep", a No.17 hit, and "Hula Love", a No.9 hit. While he never achieved the same level of artistic success as Holly or Orbison, Buddy Knox enjoyed a long career in music. For his pioneering contribution, Knox was elected to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. "Party Doll" was voted one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
In the early 1960s Buddy signed with Liberty Records and released a number of more mainstream pop records, featuring string arrangements and vocal backup singers. "Lovey Dovey" and "Ling-Ting-Tong" were the most notable recordings from this era. The sound captured on these recordings was a distinct departure from his earlier rockabilly work for Roulette Records. Liberty Records, and principle producer Tommy "Snuff" Garrett, successfully employed the same production techniques for their other mainstream pop artists of the time which included Johnny Burnette and Bobby Vee.
In 1968 Knox, who had been living in semi-retirement in Macon, Georgia while running his publishing company, moved to Nashville and signed a new recording contract with United Artists Records. Working with producer Bob Montgomery, Knox honed his traditional rockabilly style more toward the modern country sound of the day. His first album on U/A earned him the nickname by which he would be known for the remainder of his life. The title song of the album, "Gypsy Man", written by Sonny Curtis and featuring Curtis' impressive acoustic guitar work, received considerable airplay on country radio and earned him respect from a new generation of fans.
Several singles recorded by Knox between 1968 and 1974 were notable for the fact he experimented with a variety of sounds and styles and, from a creative and critical standpoint, may have been his most productive era. His version of Delaney Bramlett's "God Knows I Love You", along with his self-penned "Salt Lake City", placed Knox firmly in the midst of the new pop music genre being populated by artists such as Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, and others who were on the leading edge of the developing Southern rock style such as Black Oak Arkansas and the Allman Brothers Band. His cover version of James Hendricks' "Glory Train" was another impressive stylistic stretch and featured a gospel-like chorus of back-up singers. Although recorded in Nashville, the arrangement and fuzz tone guitar licks on "Glory Train" sounded unlike anything that came from Music City during that time. His gentle remake of the Fleetwoods' 1959 classic "Come Softly to Me" demonstrated a vocal range never heard on his old rockabilly recordings. He also reached out to the new generation of songwriters who would become prominent during Nashville's "Outlaw Era" of the 1970s, as he was one of the first artists to record Mickey Newbury's "I'm Only Rockin'". Several other major country music artists later recorded this song but under the alternate title of "T. Total Tommy". Buddy also recorded songs by edgy writers such as Alex Harvey, John D. Loudermilk and Gary Paxton. On several of these recordings Knox experimented with multi-tracking his voice by singing multiple harmony parts with himself, something very few artists had done at that time. Despite the critically impressive amount of work recorded by Knox during this period he failed to connect with a mass audience as he had done in the late 1950s, and failed to shake his image as a '50s rockabilly artist.
During this same time frame, Knox was also involved in several business ventures in Canada. One of these was said to be a partnership with Gordon Lightfoot and involved a chain of Canadian nightclubs.
All the Roulette and Liberty recordings