There isn’t actually a real solid Buddy Knox connection relating to Denver but here was my near brush with fame and Buddy. The year was late 1060 when I was in Junior High at Rishel in West Denver. My sister was a Senior at West High School. She often had dates – something I could have cared less about in 1960 and on one particular Saturday morning when we were both at the breakfast table at our home in west Denver she casually said to me “You should have gotten up last night. We came by the house with our dates. Francie (her friend) set me up with a blind date. You’ve probably heard of him. My date was Buddy Knox.”
I sort of sat their staring at her as she non-nonchalantly proceeded to eat her breakfast – displaying an attitude sort of like “And that is that so pass the butter.” Buddy Knox did come to our house for about an hour. I didn’t wake up. My sister didn’t bother to come get me even though she knew I was a music freak and even owned a copy of “Lovey Dovey” by Knox. The record was an abrupt departure from his raw earlier stuff like “Party Doll”, “Hula Love” and “Rock Your Baby to Sleep”.
So I missed my big chance. Big chance to do what I’m not sure. Most likely just annoy the heck out of my sister and the other three. Wonder who Francie was dating that night? Jimmy Bowen.
So that brings me to The Rhythm Orchids. This was an early Texas group which featured three musicians who would all go on to record collectively and individually. The original members of the Rhythm Orchids included Jimmy Bowen (bass), Buddy Knox (rhythm guitar) and Don Lanier (lead guitar). They would add drummer Dave Alldred who later would be the drummer for rock group Dickey Doo and The Don’ts. This was mostly a studio group headed up by Gerry Granahan. When their first single on the newly formed Swan label (Dick Clark’s label) hit the charts (“Click-Clack’) they quickly added Harvey Davis (bass), Ray Gangi (guitar) and Al Ways (drums) to provide a touring and performing group. They charted in the Hot 100 a total of five times between 1958 and 1959. Bob Lanier record solo on the Gee label (no hits)
Bowen became a successful record producer. He charted four times with his biggest hit – “I’m Stickin’ With You” (#14 1957) being the flip side of the Knox single “Party Doll”. Knox charted 10 times on the Hot 100 – several with The Rhythm Orchids. His recording career was short from 1957 through 1961. At Liberty Records he was produced by Snuff Garrett which meant strings and lush backgrounds. Garrett also produced for Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Brian Hyland, Gene McDaniels and Gary Lewis and The Playboys to name a few. Knox did pass through Colorado as well as Wyoming performing in small venues in probably a time-frame which would have placed him in my living room in 1960.
Knox died from cancer in 1999 at the age of 65.