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The Sparkletones

The Sparkletones’ story must have been a film. For a number of listeners, these were and so are what rockabilly music really was about — four children in the south, none over the age of 16 and something as early as 13 if they began, obtaining together and producing fast, occasionally raunchy sounds, actually the soundtrack with their very own teenager years, and having lots of fun and obtaining an experience from it. Their music at its greatest sounded as freewheeling as their method of it certainly was, plus they had been rewarded in Oct of 1957 with lots 17 placement in the Billboard graphs for the only real record they ever do chart, “Dark Slacks.” The quantity 17 place tells only area of the tale, however. “Dark Slacks” stayed in the graphs for a lot more than four weeks, selling a whole lot of copies for the reason that time, sufficiently to keep carefully the music group going for 3 years while they vainly sought out another hit. It had been among the first successes for ABC-Paramount Information, a label that were formed only 2 yrs earlier, just like rock & move was breaking out and, alongside “In the Hop” by Danny & the Juniors, helped the label be successful when no-one believed that was feasible. Joe Bennett (vocals, business lead electric guitar), Wayne Arthur (upright bass), Howard “Sparky” Childress (electric guitar), and Jimmy “Sticks” Denton (drums) ranged in age range from 13 to 16 if they first met up, and all have been elevated in Spartanburg, S.C. All attended Cowpens SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL in Spartanburg, and originated from reputable, middle-class families. Certainly, as opposed to a whole lot of children who wished to play music for a full time income, all four associates from the Sparkletones had been regular churchgoers, and Joe Bennett, the vocalist and business lead guitarist, was among the leaders from the Cathedral Youngsters Movement in SC. They’d all been close friends and had received jointly in 1956. Elvis was striking it big nationally after that, becoming a real superstar (even when no-one was using that phrase however), and Carl Perkins acquired burned off the graph early that calendar year with “Blue Suede Sneakers,” and a large number of functioning class children in the south, specifically, now saw rock and roll & roll in an effort to get some glory plus some big money. Which was the Sparkletones’ circumstance; they enjoyed the music and playing it, however they had been all longing for some achievement at carrying it out. Chances are the group might’ve toiled in anonymity for a couple weeks and split up, but for pure good fortune. A CBS skill agent called Bob Cox arrived through Spartanburg and was auditioning youthful performers for the network. The Sparkletones had been one of a large number of amateur clothes from all around the condition who resulted in at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in January of 1957. They got first reward, and had been good enough which they got Cox’s profession at CBS. He resigned his placement to be their supervisor, and two times later on the quartet, who’d under no circumstances been from their home condition before, had been on a aircraft to NEW YORK, and some days from then on they were agreed upon to ABC-Paramount. Ironically, their initial recording session implemented one by another brand-new ABC musician, Paul Anka, who was simply reducing “Diana.” He also sang history on “Dark Slacks,” the group’s debut one, co-authored by Joe Bennett and Jimmy Denton, trim that time. “Dark Slacks” was a stunner: fast-paced, with rippling business lead electric guitar, and filled up with teenager catch-phrases of the time, it sounded similar to the Everly Brothers on uppers, using a electric guitar part which was someplace midway between Carl Perkins and Pal Holly. It had been the almost ideal song at only the right minute to have the music group a foothold, nonetheless it would have to be worked well, which where Bob Cox arrived in. Cox had not been just the group’s supervisor but, in place, their legal guardian as he booked them on a protracted group of concerts and personal looks that stretched for most a few months. The single initial broke on radio within their hometown, but steadily it spread to various other stations. Stimulating radio play supposed doing even more concerts and striking more cities and cities, within the hope to getting the eye of disk jockeys — the quartet tooled around the united states within a 10,000-mile trek that had taken these to California and back a Desoto, another car, with bandmembers (including 14-year-old Sparky) writing the driving. It had been true barnstorming, but with great gigs prearranged, including a protracted engagement in NEVADA — Elvis Presley found discover them once throughout that period. In addition they did tv shows, like the Nat Ruler Cole Display, American Bandstand, as well as the Ed Sullivan Display, with the second option the culmination of the performing profession. Those looks allowed the Sparkletones to mix paths with famous brands the Everly Brothers, Friend Holly, and Bobby Darin, among several others. Sadly, for the group, which released information both as Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones, so when the Sparkletones, they might never think of a effective follow-up to “Dark Slacks.” A number of the issue revolved around timing. Rockabilly actually didn’t contain the graphs or the public’s curiosity for too much time: Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Sneakers” began the boomlet, and it could be argued that “Dark Slacks” annually and nine weeks later on finished it. By 1958, the public’s flavor was changing, as well as the group’s audio was no more in synch using the mass open public or what radio disk jockeys had been searching for (Carl Perkins never really had a second strike, either). They soldiered on for 3 years, issuing “Cent Loafers and Bobby Sox,” “Natural cotton Pickin’ Rocker,” “We’ve Acquired It,” “Later Once again,” and “Operate Rabbit Operate,” good, exciting songs, none which charted. Certainly, a number of the group’s B-sides had been even better, such as for example “Rocket,” that is 100 % pure, high-voltage rockabilly but manages to show components of a Dark vocal audio aswell. By 1959, their agreement with ABC-Paramount was up, plus they transferred to the Paris label, for four singles that do no better. By 1960, they’d also improved their sound relatively, adding more of the tranquility vocal component on quantities like “Gorgeous One,” however they still performed and documented with a whole lot of energy. The group’s account remained remarkably steady for the very first three years, however the young boys had to begin their lives and educations. Howard “Sparky” Childress still left to pursue another profession, and was changed by Gene Dark brown, who was simply a drummer but became a member of on electric guitar. Jimmy Denton still left to finish senior high school, and Dark brown got over for the drums, while Donnie Seay emerged in as second guitarist. The band’s background came to an in depth around 1960-1961, as well as the bandmembers, having noticed a great deal of the planet and experience as teenagers, came back to more standard lives. Joe Bennett became a member of the Air Pressure and later on worked well as an air flow visitors controller, although as co-author of “Dark Slacks,” he maintained ties towards the music business through posting, and trained music aswell. Childress worked well in nation music in the first ’60s and worked well in product sales, Wayne Arthur sang having a gospel group in his free time, and Denton went a car parts shop. Donnie Seay continued to be in music like a guitarist, and Gene Dark brown, following a stint within the paratroopers, became a commercial security director. Lately, several people of the group possess reunited informally in the region around Spartanburg. “Dark Slacks” was revived by Robert Gordon within the ’70s, and was later on found by Disney for make use of in the film The Borrowers RIGHT HERE, and it gets performed frequently like a rockabilly traditional. MCA’s release of the ten-song Sparkletones LP in the first ’80s sparked some desire for the group, even though company hasn’t been ready to released a Sparkletones Compact disc. The bootleggers took care of this oversight — although that does not advantage the bandmembers — as well as the Sparkletones today are immortalized as users from the Rockabilly Hall of Popularity.

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