BOND, EDDIE - Country and rockabilly singer, disc jockey,
promotor, radio and television station impresario, song-writer, charity worker and law enforcement officer, all parts of the multi-faceted person that is Eddie Bond. For
over forty years now he been completely immersed in the southern musical culture that spawned the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison et all. Whether he is performing in Memphis, Tennessee, Drew, Mississippi or
prudhoe, Tyne and Wear, England, Eddie Bond continues to be a living embodiment of the traditional sounds of country and authentic rockabilly music.
Born in Methodist Hospital, Memphis, on July 1, 1923, Eddie James Bond grew up in an essential non-musical family, which still provided some encouragement to the young member of the
family who, at the age of eight, had put together enough nickels and dimes to buy his first guitar. His initial interest had been aroused by listening to Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb who, at the time, the early 40s, were widely
heard on the radio and records; his early experience of performing developed through his teenage years as he gigged around the beer joints of Memphis.
On leaving school in 1950, he held down a variety of jobs including furniture factory worker, paint sprayer and, a job common amongst Memphis rockabillies, truck driver. After an eighteen
month stint in the Navy, Bond returned to work in paint, this time selling not sprying. The time had now moved on to 1952 and the formation of his band the Stompers took place over the ensuing months. Well-known members would
be Reggie Young, John Hughey, Jimmy Smith and Johnny Fine. Earlier incarnations of the band had included Ronald Smith, Enio Hopkins, Curtis Lee Alderson and future Musical Warriot for Charlie Feathers, Jody Chastain there
led to occasional work with Elvis Presley.
The rounds of the South and Southwest were made taking in Tucson, Arizona, Birmingham, Alabama
and Dexter, Missouri, where Eddie and the Stompers together with Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings and Narvel Felts with Jerry Mercer's Rhythm and Blues Boys played on top of a concession stand at the local drive-in a typical
for the priode 1954-1956.
Following failed auditions at Sun Records and Meteor, Eddie secured a recording deal with Ekko
Records which, although an Los Angeles company, had a Memphis office which was located at 36 North Cleveland. Although not certain. Eddie now believes the Ekko session was held at a Murray Nash Associates-connected studio
in Nashville. No fabulous sales were achieved but they formed the basis for the next session which saw Eddie move further towards the big-time and a major label deal for Mercury Records.
Other developments during this time including appearances on the Louisiana Hayride alongside Johnny Horton, Elvis Presley and Sonny James, and further touring alongside Carl Perkins,
Johnny Cash, Harold Jenkins (later to become Conway Twitty), and Charlie Feathers.
Concurrently a move to develop
links with radio were set up when the Eddie Bond Show was transmitted on KWEM, beginning a relationship with the airwaves that continues today. So now touring was joined by broadcasting as well as recording in the continually
broadening of the Bond career. At the same time Eddie signed with Bob Neal's Stars Inc., then looking after the interests of Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash with Warren Smith and Roy Orbison soon to be added
to the ranks.
Four sessions were recorded for Mercury Records, the first of which he poses a mystery. Held at WMPS
in Memphis, and produced by Mercury artists and repertoire man, Dee Kilpatrick, four songs were recorded but only two were issued on Mercury. Nashville was the location of the next session that
produced Bond's strongest rockabilly performances used by Mercury on two singles in June and September of 1956, which sold well enough for Mercury to organise two more sessions held in Houston, Texas in 1957.
Following the Mercury deal, Eddie began label-hopping through the South, particularly around Memphis. First stop was 706 Union
Avenue in Memphis, where Jack Clement produced three titles.
None were issued at the time having to wait for the
rockabilly revival and subsequent glut of compilations released in the 1970s and 1980s. There followed a plethora of recordings for "D", Stomper Time, Wildcat, MCCR, Decca (through his friend Webb Pierce),
and United Southern Artists. All were basically country releases.
Early 1962 saw Eddie back in Memphis recording at the 639 Madison
Avenue or re nearly thirty sides were recorded for Sun during January and February, and gospel items were eventually used on an album in 1963. Although not strictly recorded by Sun or Phillips International,
these recordings were all bought in and have been embraced as Sun tracks as a result of the Phillips International album release.
Further stopping-off places on the label circuit included Memphis, Pen (leased on Decca), Diplomat, Millionaire, Goldwax, Memphis, MCCR and Tab, which took Eddie to the end of the sixties during which time he had
expanded his radio operations and achieved great success by increasing his listening audience noticeably to the extent that a 64% share was achieved and a plaque presented to him by Billboard to honour the achievement.
The Tap recordings of 1969 inaugurated the Buford Pusser Years, when Eddie was involved in writing and recording about the dubious
character of Sheriff Pusser who became a southern hero when Hollywood portrayed him in the film Walkin' Tall. Bond later admitted to having mixed feelings on the subject but there was a certain fame that was achieved through
the association. Many country fans were first introduced to the exploits of Buford Pusser through the recordings of Eddie Bond. In the wake of his meetings and ventures with Pusser, the office of Chief of Police
in Finger, Tennessee, was achieved by Eddie Bond. Coincidentally, Finger was the birthplace of Buford Pusser himself!
following years saw more country sessions on Tap in the States and, following the first United Kingdom visit in 1982, rockabilly recordings were issued on Rockhouse Records in Holland produced by Dave Travis, whose band always
supports Bond on tour, as was the case in 1982, 1985 and 1992.
The retrospective of his associations with Ekko,
Mercury, Sun and Phillips International, documents his genesis as a country and rockabilly singer, a role perfected over his long career in the recording and broadcasting industry.
One of the first clubs that Eddie Bond hired Elvis Presley to play was at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall in nearby Hernando, Mississippi, rural town, half an hour from Memphis.
Hernando was home to a long, white VFW building with a huge parking lot, one often used by moonshine whisky drinkers. It was located on the outskirts of town and, according to Bond, "drew a hell of a crowd".
Saturday night dances were a tradition, and people of all ages showed up for the music. The young men dressed up and the girls
had on their finest dresses. At intermission time, the parking lot was filled with refreshment seekers. "Elvis Presley was nervous that hot summer night in Hernando", Edythm Peeler, a local resident recalled. "He wore a pair
of faded blue jeans and a plaid jacket. We had no idea who he was". "They surrounded him at the intermission. He sure was a good-looking boy. Now that I recall, I also liked his singing". Comments like these were repeated
by a number of other Hernando residents, all of whom had found memories of the night Elvis Presley performed in their little white VFW Hall. Elvis' appearance with the band provided some insights into his future career. When
Elvis Presley arrived in Hernando and got out of his car, he was horrified at the dance site. "Elvis' hand't played any country honky-tonks", Eddie Bond recalled. "He was stunned by the drinking in the parking
lot". Moonshine whisky was in abundance and it was not unusual for a gun to fire followed by a rebel yell. The VFW dance was a place where the farmer, the small businessman, and local workers could let loose. Young girls,
not so young women with big breasts, and the traditional-looking army couple crowded the dance floor. To Elvis Presley, it was a strange environment to sing romantic ballads. Elvis Presley told Eddie Bond that he would
convert the crowd to his kind of music. Bond had no idea what Elvis Presley meant. When Elvis performed Guy Mitchell's 1950 classic "The Roving Kind" and Johnny Ray's 1951 hit "The Little White Cloud That Cried", it was clear
that he selected songs the locals liked. "I saw those tunes on the jukebox inside the hall. I knew those folks would like those songs", he told Eddie Bond.
During his performances, Elvis Presley sang two sets of songs. No one was really sure why Elvis repeated his songs, considering how many he knew. The reason was simply. He used these
small shows to perfect his delivery of a particular tune. Since he favoured pop ballads, no one really cared if Elvis sang a song more than once - he was able to work the girls into a frenzy with anything he sang. What it
amounted to, though, was that long before Elvis became the first rock and roll superstar, he was consciously practising the act that would take him to the pinnacle of show business success.
Through it all, the consensus is that Eddie Bond made more friends than enemies. In the late 1990s, he moved east to Bolivar, Tennessee where he opened a store and a club
that he was anxious to mention was not a nightclub. Morbidly obese, Bond moved to an assisted living facility for a time.
morning, March 20, 2013, Eddie Bond died from complications of Alzheimer's disease and dementia at his home in Bolivar, Tennessee, at the age of 79.
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