Memories Of Maria by Jerry Byrd

#683: Memories Of Maria by Jerry Byrd

Peak Month: January 1962
7 weeks on CKWX’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #74 “Memories Of Maria

Gerald Lester “Jerry” Byrd was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1920. As he retells it in his autobiography, Byrd was taken to a “tent” show at the age of 13. It was the during the Great Depression. But for his friend, Richard Bennett, who came from a wealthier family, Byrd would never have seen the show. His friend suggested they go and the friend told Byrd he would pay for the  “one dollar ticket” after Byrd told him “I can’t. I don’t have any money.” Byrd says at the age of eleven he had never seen a one dollar bill. In inflation adjusted dollars $1.00 in 1933 is equivalent to $19.40 in 2019. Byrd recalls “nobody has any money in those days. There would be maybe two shows a year that came to town, and the show would come for one day and be gone the next. So if you had the money to go, you went.” At the “tent” show he saw a band from Hawaii. Byrd recalls “There were six or eight of them, and the stage drop was a scene with palm trees along an ocean shoreline, and a volcano erupting. All that exotic stuff, like in the movies. And the music – you couldn’t have captured my attention any more if you hit me on the head with a hammer. But it was the sound of the steel guitar that captivated me the most.”

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