#915: Blue Ribbon Baby by Tommy Sands And The Raiders
In 1937 Thomas Adrian “Tommy” Sands was born in Chicago. His dad was a piano player and his mom was a big-band singer. His family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, when he was seven. He began playing the guitar at eight and within a year had a job performing twice weekly on a local radio station. At the beginning of his teen years, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he attended Lamar High School and joined a band called Jimmie Lee Durden and the Junior Cowboys. It was made up of Sands, Durden, and Billy Reno. They performed on radio, at county fairs, and did personal appearances. He was only fifteen when Colonel Tom Parker heard about Tommy Sands and signed him to RCA Records. Sands became an overnight sensation and instant teen-idol when he appeared on Kraft Television Theater in January 1957 as “The Singin’ Idol.” On the episode Sands played the part of a singer who was very similar to Elvis Presley, with guitar, pompadour hair, and excitable teenage fans. The song Tommy Sands sang during the show was titled “Teen Age Crush.” Soon it climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and in Vancouver.