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Jerry Naylor (born March 6, 1939) is an American country and rock n roll artist and broadcaster, who was the lead singer of The Crickets following the death of Buddy Holly.


Early life and career

Jerry Naylor Jackson was born in Chalk Mountain, Texas to a "Great Depression" farming family. His mother played piano in their local church and encouraged Jerry's love of music. Jerry listened to the greats of Country music such as Hank Williams, Sr., Lefty Frizzell, Bob Wills (with whom he shared his birthday) and Slim Whitman, and Whitman's steel guitar player, Hoot Raines, led the 9-year old Naylor to purchase and learn to play a steel guitar with money he earned picking cotton. By 12-years old, Jerry was playing that steel guitar at local honky tonks in and around Carlsbad and San Angelo, Texas, with his brother-in-law, Tommy Briggs' Hillbilly band which also featured Sherman Hamblin on fiddle and Earnest Smith lead guitar and vocals.

In 1953, at the age of 14, Jerry Naylor began working at a new radio station in San Angelo, Texas called KPEP. Veteran broadcaster, Joe Treadway, who with his wife Matilda (Tillie) would become Jerry's foster parents when Naylor's mother died in 1955, hired Naylor and taught him to be a disc jockey, radio commercial salesman and radio maintenance engineer. Joe Treadway encouraged Naylor to continue his performing, but on the insistence of Jerry's mother, gave him the opportunity to be the lead singer of the band. KPEP was co-owned by Joe Treadway and Dave Stone (Pinkstone) who also owned the, now legendary, KDAV radio station in Lubbock, Texas where Buddy Holly was also an on-air performer with Bob Montgomery, "Buddy & Bob".

These two West Texas radio stations were the first full-time country music radio stations in America and promoted live touring shows throughout West Texas with stars from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Joe Treadway and his close friend, Tillman Franks, Talent Coordinator for the Louisiana Hayride, managed Naylor's young singing career and booked Jerry and his band on these touring shows. It was here at KPEP that Naylor first heard rockabilly music, at its very beginning. After hearing and playing Elvis Presley's "That's Alright Mama" Sun Records recording, Naylor helped to form and became the lead singer of the rockabilly band, the Cavaliers.


Career with The Crickets

After Jerry Naylor had become the lead singer of the Post Buddy Holly Crickets, the Cavaliers, with J. Frank Wilson replacing Naylor as lead singer, went on to have Top 10 national chart success in 1964 with the song "Last Kiss."

Joe Treadway, Jerry's manager, got Naylor to join other great artists of the day such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Bob Luman and many more on the Louisiana Hayride.

Naylor played many more of the Louisiana hayride shows working with his mentors, KPEP Radio co-owner/ manager, Joe Treadway and Tillman Franks, slap bass player/ personal manager of Johnny Horton and other acts, and most important, talent director of the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana. Jerry Naylor's first recording was the self-penned, “Hillbilly Bop” with the Rhythm & Blues classic “Money Honey” on the B side.

In 1960, following the death of Buddy Holly, Jerry was approached by Jerry Allison, co-founder and drummer of the Crickets with Buddy Holly, to become their new front man. Jerry initially refused this, but on the advice of Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart (Cochran's manager) he changed his mind and joined the band. Together with drummer Jerry Allison, lead guitarist Sonny Curtis and pianist Glen D. Hardin, the Crickets were reformed in the fall of 1960.

The Crickets experienced chart success in Great Britain, including a legacy single record hits with Carol King / Gerry Goffin’s penned, “Please Don’t Ever Change”, Sonny Curtis' , “My Little Girl,” plus, “Teardrops Fall Like Rain,” “Don’t Try to Change Me,” among others.

In 1962 they teamed up with Bobby Vee, whose career was also inextricably linked to Holly's to release the album “Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets” which became one of the biggest global hit albums for both the Crickets and Bobby. Bobby Vee and The Crickets performed on an historic concert tour of the UK and Europe that has become legendary. While on this tour in the UK, both Bobby Vee and the Crickets were featured in the movie, "Just For Fun."

In 1964 the Crickets appeared in the movie “Girls on the Beach,” along with the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore, performing their special rendition of "La Bamba".

Solo recording and performing career


In 1965 the Crickets broke up and Jerry signed a multiple-performance contract with the popular ABC-Television Network music variety show, “Shindig,” a show produced by British TV producer, Jack Goode, and in the winter of 1965, Jerry Naylor re-launched a successful solo career and was booked as the opening act for the new British group, The Rolling Stones, before 17,000 screaming fans at the Long Beach, California Arena.

In 1968, Naylor's solo performances with his hot band and the "Goodtime Chariott Singers" once again went international, beginning what would be a series of 37 tours in Europe, the UK, Canada and Asia, plus concerts touring the United States and headlining at casinos in Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

In 1970, Naylor, recording for CBS-Columbia Records, released the solo single "But for Love," produced by Sonny Knight a song that would garner him three Grammy nominations, and a strong position in Billboard Magazine's Top Forty Male vocalists of the Year with his friends Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

In 1974, Naylor managed to fit into his schedule, the hosting of an award winning Billboard Magazine, Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association three-hour weekly radio show, Continental Country, which was syndicated throughout the United States and broadcast globally on American Forces Radio Network.


In 1976, while keeping a busy touring schedule and enjoying a new on-air "Celebrity Host" contract with the number one country music radio station in America, KLAC Radio, Los Angeles, California, Jerry Naylor founded a public relations company and film and video production company. One of The Naylor Company’s first clients was the former governor of California, Ronald Reagan. Jerry and his company created and produced political commercials, documentaries, corporate commercials, and eventually created and developed feature motion pictures for HBO and several other major film companies.

During Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign Jerry Naylor became a senior campaign staff member, National Director of Special Events. The newly elected President Reagan appointed Jerry Naylor to two three-year terms as one of 14 commissioners of the National Commission for Employment Policy, working directly with the White House Office of the President and the Secretary of Labor.

Recent projects

Naylor recently completed a project, over seven years in production, which includes a three-hour feature television broadcast documentary, co-hosted by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame radio and television icon, Red Robinson, and Jerry Naylor, for national and international television broadcast networks and cable outlets, a shortened version customized for PBS Network Pledge Drive Broadcasts through March, 2010, a special DVD version of this production with 43-minutes of non-broadcast feature performances, four newly recorded soundtrack CDs, three featuring Naylor’s solo performances and one soundtrack CD featuring Naylor and Stan Perkins, son of Carl Perkins, performing a duet tribute to Rockabilly Legend, Carl Perkins. The project also includes eight compilation CDs which feature 113 digitally refurbished and re-mastered original Rockabilly/ Early Rock and Roll Legends recordings, plus a very rare “Live at the Louisiana Hayride” CD which features live performances from Elvis Presley’s first performance on the Louisiana Hayride in October, 1954, plus live performances from Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Bob Luman and Hank Williams.

The Rockabilly Project

Naylor and award-winning-best-selling author, Steve Halliday, have written a 288-page hard bound book, The Rockabilly Legends: They Called it Rockabilly Long Before They Called it Rock and Roll, published by Hal Leonard Publishing Co, New York, as a Collector’s Edition coffee table book for the Tribute to the Rockabilly Legends project. This Birth of Rock and Roll anthology features over two-hundred rare photos of the Rockabilly Royalty and personal inside stories from Naylor and his friends, the Rockabilly Legends, of this great musical era. [1]

This two-and-a-half million-dollar multi-media production, The Rockabilly Legends project is marketed worldwide exclusively by The Jerry Naylor Company, LLC and Panache Entertainment Group, Ltd. with direct response television marketing created, produced and managed by some of the top national and international Direct Response Marketing firms. The PBS Pledge Drive documentary and The Rockabilly Legends Direct Response Marketing infomercials are co-hosted by renowned singer-songwriter, recording artist, movie actor icon, Kris Kristofferson, and Jerry Naylor.

This multi-layered production is a special tribute to the Pioneers of Rockabilly Music with whom Naylor began his professional entertainment career in 1954, and highlights the launch of many of the Rockabilly Legends’ careers through the Louisiana Hayride and early performances in West Texas.

Rockbilly Project Soundtrack

The Jerry Naylor-Stan Perkins’ produced soundtrack CDs include original compositions and unique “Roots of Rockabilly” revivals; an anthology of the music which formed the foundation of Rockabilly and early Rock and Roll Music. These unique four soundtrack CDs feature Jerry Naylor singing many of the classic 1950s songs made famous by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Charlie Rich, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly/ Crickets, Muddy Waters, Bob Luman, and Ernest Tubb. The CDs include two unique never-before-heard Carl Perkins performances from the documentary production featuring Carl with just his acoustic gut string guitar singing "Blue Suede Shoes" and “Mr. Bill.” “Mr. Bill” is Carl Perkins’ special tribute to his “idol,” the legendary Bluegrass founder, Bill Monroe. The four CD set also includes Jerry and Stan Perkins singing duets of legendary Carl Perkins classics as a personal tribute to Carl Perkins; “To Carl; Let it Viberate.” Naylor’s solo performances also include never-before-recorded original rockabilly songs, “Yesterday’s Teardrops,” a song co-written by Jerry Naylor and Glen Campbell in 1959, a bluesy “B. B. King” type Southern Gospel song, “Without Warning”, co-written by Jerry Naylor and Rick Miller specifically for this project, and “She’s Gone,” a 1960’s hit for Buddy Knox co-written by Jerry Naylor and Buddy Knox, Naylor’s longtime West Texas friend. Among the additional highlights of this CD soundtrack production is a unique acoustic Roots of Rockabilly tribute to one of the world’s most influential guitarists, Django Reinhardt, with the song, “Don’t Say Nothin’ That Won’t Improve the Silence,” co-written by Rockabilly Pioneer, singer-songwriter, Larry Collins (Larry & Laurie Collins, “The Collins Kids”) and Naylor in the early 1970s, with a musical track masterfully emulating the 1930s and 1940s classic Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli Quintet of the Hot Club, Paris, France musical magic.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada’s legendary radio and television personality, Red Robinson, co-hosts the three-hour television documentary with Naylor. Naylor’s long time friend and renowned television host, Wink Martindale, serves as the voiceover storyteller of the classic Tribute to the Rockabilly Legends television production.

Other projects

Naylor has recently written or co-written with Rick Miller over twenty contemporary Christian songs for a new Gospel CD recording project.

Awards and Honors

Naylor is a member of the Academy of Country Music, The Country Music Association, and The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Jerry is listed in, or has creative works in, The Country Music Hall of Fame (“The Legend of Johnny Brown Country Opera” album on which he sings the lead role of Johnny Brown), The Who’s Who of Country Music, The Who’s Who of Rock and Roll, The Encyclopedia of Country Music, The Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll and his creative works are registered in the United States Library of Congress.

Jerry Naylor is a member of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, Zeta Phi Chapter. In 1991, Jerry Naylor was inducted into the Marquis’ Who’s Who in the West; in 1993 he was honored in the Marquis’ Who’s Who in Finance and Industry for his contributions to international business consultation; and in 1994, Jerry was inducted into the Marquis’ Who’s Who in Entertainment and Marquis’ Who’s Who in America.

In 2007, The Jerry Naylor Company’s production, The Rockabilly Legends, was honored with the “2007 Millennium Award” for overall creative broadcast production quality for its Direct Response Television Marketing (DRTV) 28-Minute television infomercial hosted by Kris Kristofferson and Jerry Naylor and produced by Kent Hofmiester, Scott Petersen and Jerry Naylor.

Also in 2007, Dr. Gary Hartman, Phd., Founder of The Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University introduced Jerry Naylor's Rockabilly Legends Tribute Project into the undergraduate and graduate studies curriculum of Texas State University's Music History Department.

Personal life and family

On January 30, 1966, Jerry Naylor married Pamela Ann Robinson. Jerry and Pamela, married over four decades, have three children and six grandchildren.


External links


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