This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Tommy Roe.
Singer-songwriter Tommy Roe, who will be performing at the South Point January 23- 25, wrote, co-wrote, and recorded six Top Ten Hits between 1962 and 1969, more than any other single artist/songwriter during this period. “Shelia” and “Dizzy” topped the Billboard chart at #1
Roe had a total of eleven records reach the Billboard Top forty, and 23 Billboard Top 100 chart records. With similar chart success in England, and throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia, Tommy is considered one of the early pioneers of American pop culture.
Born in Atlanta, Roe started singing and writing songs at the age of 14. In high school, he and two friends, Mike Clark and Bobby West, formed a band called The Satins. In addition to neighborhood gigs, Tommy and The Satins played high school dances, and fraternity parties at Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. It was during this time that he met Felton Jarvis, who would soon become his producer.
In February of 1962, Roe, along with Felton Jarvis, and his new manager, Bill Lowery, drove from Atlanta to Nashville, and recorded two songs – “Save Your Kisses,” and “Shelia.” The single “Shelia” was released and soon became the number one hit around the world. Little did Roe know that this would be the beginning of a career that would propel him into the spotlight for life.
In 1986, Roe was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. He is also a Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee and a member of The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Association Hall of Fame.