Tuesday, January 19, 2021

R.I.P.: Jimmie Rodgers, '50s-'60s Pop Singer

Singer Jimmie Rodgers 1933-2021

Pop Singer Jimmie Rodgers died Monday night at age 87.

In the late 1950s, Jimmie Rodgers soared from obscurity into the music charts with top 10 hits such as "Honeycomb," "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," and "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again." But a decade later, a devastating injury nearly silenced the pop-folk singer forever.

Rodgers grew up in Camas, Washington, where he would sing along with the radio as a kid.

Despite being a good student, Jimmie was bored with school studies and went on to enlist in the air force where he served 18 months overseas during the Korean War.

“It was rough and I lost many friends,” he said grimly. “One evening, a buddy asked me to the chow hall, but I had to work. Later that night, some North Koreans crossed the Hann River at the back of the base and killed the men in the hall where I would have been.”

It would be one of several narrow escapes throughout his life. But the war also influenced Rodgers’ civilian career.

In the summer of 1957, he recorded his own version of "Honeycomb", which had been written by Bob Merrill and recorded by Georgie Shaw three years earlier. The tune was Rodgers' biggest hit, staying on the top of the charts for four weeks. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.

Over 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.

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