#605: Niki Hoeky by P.J. Proby
James Marcus Smith was born in 1938 in Houston, Texas. His mother left his father when he was ten. His dad threatened to shoot her with a gun, but was overcome by other relatives. James’ mother took custody of the boy and he was sent to military schools from the age of ten until he graduated. After high school graduation, Smith moved to Hollywood and was billed as Jet Powers. He also recorded a few songs under his given name. But, in 1961 Sharon Sheeley, the composer of Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” and girlfriend of Eddie Cochran, suggested Smith bill himself as P.J. Proby. The name came from one of her former boyfriends. Proby had a minor hit in the fall of 1961 with Liberty Records titled “Try To Forget Her”. The single cracked the Top 50 on CFUN in Vancouver in October. He continued to record with little success while he recorded demos for Elvis Presley, Bobby Vee and Johnny Burnette. For awhile he worked as a driver for Paul Newman. Proby flew to London, UK, and through Sharon Sheeley’s connections, met Jackie DeShannon and British TV producer Jack Good. Good got P.J. Proby to appear on a Beatles TV special on May 6, 1964, called Around The Beatles.
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