- THE REAL MAGIC -
Rockabilly Legend Exclusive
Jerry Naylor talks about the electricity and the magic of Rockabilly music.
JERRY NAYLOR JACKSON - is an American country and rock and roll artist and broadcaster and inspirational speaker, who was the lead singer of The Crickets following the death of Buddy Holly. Born on March 6, 1939 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 All Right'' Sun Records recording, Naylor helped to form and became the lead singer of the rockabilly band The Cavaliers.
In 1960, Jerry Naylor became the lead singer for the Crickets. This was after the tragic death of Buddy Holly, and Jerry Ivan Allison, co-founder of the Crickets with Buddy Holly, offered Naylor the lead singer position with the Crickets because they had just signed a new recording contract with Liberty Records, Hollywood, California. Jerry recorded as lead singer with the Crickets for five years at Liberty Records, globally known as "The Crickets, The Liberty Years" for the multiple global hits the group had during this time. It all started with "Don't Ever Change'', a Carol King/ Gerry Goffin written song, which shot to the number 5 position on the United Kingdom national charts and many other countries of the world. "Don't Ever Change" by Jerry Naylor and The Post Buddy Holly Crickets highly influenced the Beatles career, by their own admission, and the very first song the new Beatles group performed live on BBC, in 1963, was the Jerry Naylor and The Crickets' hit, "Don't Ever Change''. The Post Buddy Holly Crickets had five additional international hit singles and the "Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets Album" was the biggest success globally, ranking tied with Buddy Holly Crickets albums at number 2 for all Crickets global sales. Jerry Naylor and The Crickets also had a number One hit EP recording on EMI/Liberty Records in 1963, featuring two additioanl hits, "My Little Girl" and "Teardrops Fall Like Rain'', which were also featured in the Columbia Motion Pictures Movie, "Just For Fun''.
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 and manager, Joe Treadway and Tillman Franks, slap bass player and 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'', "I'm Not A Bad Guy'', "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 United Kingdom and Europe that has become legendary. While on this tour in the United Kingdom, 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".
In 1965 the Crickets broke up and Jerry signed a multiple-performance contract with the popular ABCTelevision 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 United Kingdom, 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.
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.
Naylor and award-winning-best-selling author, Steve Halliday, have written a 288-page 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.
A two-and-a-half million-dollar multi-media production, the Rockabilly Legends project is marketed worldwide exclusively by the Jerry Naylor Company and J2 Global Limited, a global marketing company co-founded by Jerry Naylor and Jerry Grabner. J2 Global also manages the www.rockabillylegends.com web store created and co-managed by Intelligent Technologies founder, Timothy Barry. Jerry Naylor and the Rockabilly Legends Project is also featured on Rock Band Network, through OffBeat Entertainment, and Jerry Naylor and the Rockabilly Legends apps are now available through Kobu Apps and Apple's iPhone and other electronic devices. The Rockabilly Legends Project has been featured on PBS Television Network Pledge Drive for the past three years with a special edited one-hour PBS documentary, "The Rockabilly Legend; They Called It Rockabilly Long Before They Called It Rock and Roll" co-hosted by Kris
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.
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. The 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 neverbefore- heard Carl Perkins performances from the documentary production featuring Carl with 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: "To Carl; Let it Vibrate". 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", cowritten by Jerry Naylor and Rick Miller specifically for this project, and "She's Gone", a 1960s hit for Buddy Knox co-written by Jerry Naylor and Buddy Knox, Naylor’s longtime West Texas friend. Also on the CD is an 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, singersongwriter Larry Collins (Larry & Laurie Collins, "The Collins Kids") and Naylor in the early 1970s, with a musical track that emulates the 1930s and 1940s classic Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli Quintet of the Hot Club in Paris.
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 The Rockabilly Legends Foundation was founded in 2010 as a Not-For-Profit Corporation for the purpose of Global Ministry, Education, Preservation and Restoration of this critical era of Music History that changed a culture of the world, assisted in breaking the color discrimination of segregation and influenced the birth of Rock and Roll creating iconic super stars of the 21st Century. "Did You Know that Rock and Roll began on the Continent of Africa in the 17th Century?" The Rockabilly Legends, Creator, Historian, Author, Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Performer, Jerry Naylor, reveals the truth that African Spirituals, Southern Gospel, Delta Blues, Hillbilly Country and Bill Monroe's classic Bluegrass make up the rich Roots of Rockabilly and indeed Rock and Roll. Actually born as we know it in Memphis, Tennessee, in the hot, muggy summer of 1954, these deep, marvelous spiritual roots of Rockabilly stretch all the way back to Christian Missionaries and African converts of the 17th Century; slave converts bought an sold from the block. Slave-human-merchandise who brought these immortal memory-verse-melodies to the United States as rugged, chained slaves singing songs of salvation and Trust in God in glorious but painful harmonies recalled by rote, often spilling over into the rhythm of the heavy motion of the ores, while all clustered up tight in the filthy, mucky bottoms of those rugged, slop-vintage slave ships. These African Spirituals morphed themselves into Southern Gospel and often eased into fallen juke joint black blues somewhat blended with field-worked slave songs to become aged deep-row roots of Rockabilly and Rock and Roll when finally distilled into the heart pulling Hillbilly Country mixed with the grand and unchallengable mysteries of Scotland's best renderings of what was to be coined by Bill Monroe as "Bluegrass Music." As they say, "Put it all together and that is Rockabilly and the birth of Rock and Roll. The Rockabilly Legends Foundation is filled with train loads of first-hand, truthful "Did-Ja-Know" information about our Rockabilly American Music History and the iconic pioneers who created it from their small rural country churches to the cotton fields and juke joints. Join The Rockabilly Legends Foundation and become an active preservation member of Rockabilly and the Birth of Rock and Roll. Visit www.rockabillylegends.com for detailed Membership information and life-changing Donations. Benefits Galore! And, You Can't Rock Another Second Without It!
Jerry Naylor and co-author, Steve Halliday are busy creating an Enhanced eBook from their best-selling book, The Rockabilly Legends, They Called it Rockabilly Long Before They Called it Rock and Roll, for 2012 global release, and are launching global Multi-Media Concert/Lecture tours featuring super star Friends and Family of The Rockabilly Legends, plus Rock,Country and Gospel guest-star performers. Naylor has recently written or co-written with Rick Miller over twenty contemporary Christian songs and is currently working in the studio recording "The Rockabilly Legends; 50th Anniversary Tribute; The Crickets Don't Ever Change" Anthology album project with Arranger/ Music Director/ Engineer/ Keith Sommers, Arranger Matt Burnette, Co-Producer Dr. Colin A. Ross and The Rockabilly Legends Studio and Concert Band and Solid Rock Singers. Watch for tracks coming to your Rock Band Network Digital Download games. I mean it, "You Really Can't Rock Band Another Minute Without It!!" "Tear It Up!" "All I Want Is You" "Real Wild Child" "Don't Ever Change" ... and much more rocking your block off!
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.
On January 30, 1966, Jerry Naylor married Pamela Ann Robinson. Jerry and Pamela, married over four decades, have three children and six grandchildren.
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