Johnny Bond Biography

Cyrus Whitfield Bond, 1 June 1915, Enville, Oklahoma, USA, d. 12 June 1978, Burbank, California, USA. Born into a poor farming family, Bond taught himself to play ukelele and guitar and played at local dances In 1934 he moved to Oklahoma and worked on radio, appearing as Cyrus Whitfield, Johnny Whitfield and then Johnny Bond. In 1937, he worked with Jimmy Wakely and Scotty Harrel as the Singing Cowboy Trio and then the Bell Boys. They appeared with Roy Rogers in the 1939 film Saga Of Death Valley, and then became regulars on Gene Autry’s radio series Melody Ranch as the Jimmy Wakely Trio. Bond wrote the standard ‘Cimarron’ in 1938 and toured, performed and made films with Autry after his own trio had broken up. He subsequently did the same for Tex Ritter by forming the Red River Valley Boys to back him. He also appeared in the western Duel In The Sun, alongside Gregory Peck.

During his 17 years with the US Columbia Records label, Bond wrote and recorded classics such as ‘I Wonder Where You Are Tonight’, ‘Your Old Love Letters’ and ‘I’ll Step Aside’. His novelty, ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’, for Autry’s Republic label was subsequently revived by Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen. With Starday Records, he had a hit with the humorous ‘Ten Little Bottles’ and its sequel, ‘The Morning After’. Their success prompted Bond to record numerous other songs about drinking. He wrote scripts for, and performed in, a revamped Melody Ranch from 1964-70. In failing health, he wrote The Tex Ritter Story, and an unpublished biography of Gene Autry. Bond was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1999.

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