Jimmy Bowen Biography

30 November 1937, Santa Rita, New Mexico, USA. From an early age Bowen was a star athlete who earned a scholarship to West Texas State University. While there he formed the Serenaders with Buddy Knox (guitar, vocals) and Don Lanier (lead guitar) in 1955, sharing vocal duties with Knox and playing bass himself. Later they changed their name to the Rhythm Orchids with the addition of young drummer Don Mills, and became a rockabilly troupe. They recorded a session at Norman Petty’s studios in Clovis, New Mexico, with Dave ‘Dicky Do’ Alldred (then of the Norman Petty Trio and later of Dicky Do And The Don’ts) sitting in on drums. On the two tracks recorded, ‘Party Doll’ and ‘I’m Stickin’ With You’, a session player was drafted in to play bass as Bowen was no virtuoso. The songs were originally put out back-to-back on the Blue Moon label then reissued on Triple-D, both of which were small local labels. The Roulette label heard the record via Petty, and released the two sides separately. ‘Party Doll’ was credited to Buddy Knox And The Rhythm Orchids, and ‘I’m Stickin’ With You’ to Jimmy Bowen And The Rhythm Orchids; both sold a million and charted high in the USA (‘Party Doll’ number 1, ‘I’m Stickin’ With You’ number 14). Knox went into the US Army for a time and Bowen took a job at Roulette Records as a performer and producer. Other Bowen singles included ‘Warm Up To Me Baby’, ‘Cross Over’ and ‘By The Light Of The Silvery Moon’. Later he moved to Crest where he also moved into management. This was followed by a spell at Chancellor in 1962 then on to Frank Sinatra’s Reprise label in 1963. During this time he helped to oversee the musical careers of Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Frank’s daughter Nancy Sinatra, whom he also dated. In 1969 he formed his own Amos label, before moving to Nashville in 1977 where he joined MCA Records and undertook production for a variety of artists. Soon afterwards, he became Warner Brothers’ Nashville executive, before becoming the Nashville President of Capitol Records. His greatest accomplishments have come in the past decade where he has been able to guide the careers of Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks, although he has now left the company.

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