Boyd Bennett was a pioneer in the music industry.
He passed away on June 2, 2002. He will
be missed by many of the thousands of people he touched with is unique music. In 1955, he wrote and sang the first two teenage rock & roll hits Seventeen and
My Boy Flat Top. Over 3 million copies were sold.
Seventeen was the first rock & roll song created for teenage
My Boy Flat Top focused on teenage boys. Boyd’s songs revolutionized the music industry. They created an entirely
new sound. Teenagers suddenly became a huge marketing focus. He deserves to be inducted into the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
In 1955, Boyd,
worked as a disc jockey, singer and announcer at a radio/TV station in Louisville, Kentucky.
He performed a musical, comedy and variety show three
times a week, along with his band, "The Rockets." One day, while at work, Boyd was inspired by a friend who had a 17 year-old daughter to write the song Seventeen. Boyd wrote the lyrics and
music. They performed the song at dances. It was an immediate hit with their many fans.
Seventeen was the first rock & roll song created
specifically for teenage girls.
It created a new musical sound that was copied and enhanced by hundreds of artists and performers in the years to
come. Teenage pop rock and roll fans became a consistent money maker for music industry executives.
King Records executives liked the sound
of this new music but were doubtful that it would ever sell…unsure of the record’s commercial appeal.
They decided to lease the rights anyway, to
produce the song Seventeen in March. It was one of the best financial decisions they ever made. Seventeen hit the charts in June and rocketed to the number one slot by September.
Boyd and "the Rockets" traveled across the nation, performing their big hit to raving fans. It definitely was one of the best-selling records in King Records’ history. There were several cover
versions that extended the release of the song.
Over 3 million copies of Seventeen sold worldwide, making it one of the biggest sellers in
the history of the record industry.
Alan Freed, a famous disc jockey in New York, coined the term "Rock and Roll" after listening to Seventeen.
Boyd and his band followed Seventeen with the song My Boy Flat Top that focused on teenage boys. Boyd and Jim Muzey, affectionately known as Big Moe sang this popular song. My Boy Flat
Top ricocheted around the Top 40 for a number of months and was considered a respectable hit, although never attaining number one on the pop charts.
Most people familiar with the early days of rock and roll realize Boyd’s songs revolutionized the music industry.
with his band "The Rockets" created an entirely new sound that was duplicated and enhanced by other artists. Teenagers suddenly became a huge marketing focus. During his 24-year career in music, Boyd
performed many country songs, but never received the recognition he deserved from country music fans probably because his music sounded more like the emerging rockabilly than the hardcore honky tonk
Boyd’s pop song records do command a sizable sum on the collectors market today.
Original albums sell in the thousands of dollars. Collectors definitely recognize the major impact Boyd’s music had on the industry.
Early rock & roll was the result of a diverse combination of sounds: primarily blues, rhythm and blues, country, gospel, jazz, folk and traditional pop. These early influences combined in a simple,
blues-based song structure. This music was perfect for the 50s mindset. It was fast paced, easy to dance to and had a catchy tune. Boyd Bennett, along with the first wave of rock & rollers: Chuck Berry,
Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Bill Haley, Gene Vincent, the Everly Brothers, and Carl Perkins, among many others, created a style and form of rock and roll music
that continued for the next four decades.
Boyd Bennett and His Rockets" performed nationwide with the great musicians of their time.
Many of them were legends: Count Basey, Harry James, Eddie Howard, Cab Calloway, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis,
Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Haley, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Louis Jordan, Hank Williams, T-Bone Walker, The Drifters, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Les Paul, Hank Ballard, The
Platters, Luis Armstrong, Charlie Christian, Professor Longhair, Ma Rainey, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Willie Dixon, The Orioles, Little Willie John, Mahalia Jackson,
Bill Monroe, Lloyd Price, Gene Vincent, Jelly Roll Morton, Del Shannon, Charles Brown, Bob Willis and His Texas Playboy, Nat "King" Cole and Billie Holiday. They were an opening act for Bob Hope’s
Arthritis Telethons in over 27 shows. Most honest music critics will attest to the fact that "Boyd Bennett and his Rockets Band" were far superior technically and vocally to any band on the scene in