Dorsey Burnette Biography

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28 December 1932, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 19 August 1979, Canoga Park, California, USA. Living a full life, Burnette was a member of a classic 50s rock ‘n’ roll act, had his own hit soloist act in the 60s and became a country singer in the 70s. He helped to form the highly respected Johnny Burnette Trio with younger brother Johnny Burnette and Paul Burlison in 1953, but after appearing in the movie Rock Rock Rock in 1956, Dorsey left the trio. He recorded with Johnny as The Texans (on Infinity and Jox) and wrote major hits for Ricky Nelson, including ‘It’s Late’ and ‘Waitin’ In School’. As a soloist, he recorded for Abbott, Cee-Jam, and then Era, where he had his two biggest solo hits, ‘Tall Oak Tree’ and ‘Hey Little One’, in 1960, both classics of their kind and both showcasing his deep, rich, country-style voice. He then recorded without luck on Lama, Dot Records, Imperial Records, Reprise Records, Mel-O-Day, Condor, Liberty Records, Merri, Happy Tiger, Music Factory, Smash (where he re-recorded ‘Tall Oak Tree’), Mercury Records and Hickory. In the 70s he had 15 Top 100 country hits (none making the Top 20) on Capitol Records, Melodyland, Calliope and Elektra Records, with whom he had only recently signed when he died of a heart attack in August 1979. His son Billy Burnette is also a recording artist.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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