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From the Land of Band Box Records

What Is He Gonna Do?

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Jimmy Clanton didn’t quite fit into the “Jimmy-Bobby-Johnny” pop male teen singer mold of the mid 1960’s which displaced – at least for a time – good old rock and roll.

Clanton was born in the South – in Raceland, Louisiana in September of of 1938.  While still in high school in Baton Rouge, Clanton put together his first band – “The Dixie Cats” followed by “The Rockets”.  It was probably only appropriate that Clanton would find his way onto the Ace record label – based in Jackson, Mississippi.  Fellow Rocket Dick Holler would be a featured front man on Ace – also fronted by the Rockets.

Dick Holler

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The original Rockets included Jimmy (vocals), Holler (piano) along with Ed Winston (sax), Mike Bankston (drums) with sometimes support from Leonard Root playing bass.  Many different musicians played with the Rockets during their Ace sessions.  Holler took the group with him when he departed Ace renaming them “The Holidays”.  They recorded “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)”  in 1963 – a song which would be covered and a hit for the “Swingin’ Medallions” in the Spring of 1966.

Interestingly, Holler would compose Dion’s 1969 hit – his last Top Ten appearance “Abraham, Martin & John”.   That tribute recording actually charted by four different artists.

Before that, Holler was the co-writer of the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” (number 2 – 1966) – Holler contributed a couple of additional Snoopy sagas including “Down Behind the Lines” and “It Kinda Looks Like Christmas”.

Johnny Vincent and Ace Records

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The label which was founded by Johnny Vincent naturally initially focused on rhythm and blues artists.

Vincent had cut his teeth working with Art Rupe as an arranger for Rupe’s Specialty record label.  Vincent first concentrated on Mississippi-based artists including “Lightning Slim”, Sonny “Boy” Williamson and Earl King.

He then turned his attention to the New Orleans’ music – signing the great Fats Domino, Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns, Frankie Ford, Bobby Marchan and many more.  Clanton made his debut in September of 1957 with his Rockets releasing “Just A Lonely Town” b/w “That’s You Baby” both penned by Clanton which would certainly place him apart from the teen idols who would soon follow.

Clanton placed nine songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, leading off with his smash “Just a Dream” which reached number 4 in the Summer of 1958 – and most likely to the great pleasure of Johnny Vincent and Jimmy, went all the way to number 1 on the “Hot R&B Songs” charts!

In 1961, Clanton was drafted into the Army serving for two years.  Ace continued to release his recordings during that time keeping his name in the public eye.

Clanton stuck with Ace into 1963 – and in July of 1962 hit his “Jimmy-Bobby-Johnny” big moment with “Venus in Blue Jeans” which topped off at number 7 and today is probably the Clanton song spun most often on “oldies” programming.  In keeping with the times in the early 60’s it as most appropriate that “Venus in Blue Jeans” was a “Brill” building product – coming from the pens of Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield.

After “Venus” Clanton’s recording career would slow considerably.    He would chart one final time with Ace charting a meager number 77 with “The Darkest Street In Town” in late 1962.

From there he would go on with the Phillips, Mala, Imperial and Laurie record labels where he would have his final chart record “Curly” making a brief three week appearance with only a number 97 showing.  Clanton released six long plays on Ace – none making it onto the Hot 200.

Jackie Wilson, Jimmy Clanton, and Alan Freed

He or his songs were featured in a few motion pictures including “Go Johnny, Go!” (1959), “Teenage Millionaire” (1961),  and “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986).  He also was part of Alan Freed’s all-star rock and roll shows.

Jimmy Clanton on the Big Screen

Jimmy Clanton 7-Inch Discography

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Clanton would move on to become a disc jokey in the 1970’s and continued on as an “oldies” act teaming up with Ace Records’ Frankie Ford.

Cash Box Ad – March 14th, 1959

Cash Box Ad – March 28th, 1959

Jimmy Clanton Selected Discography

45 – Ace 547 – I Trusted You/That’s You Baby – September, 1957

45 – Ace 546 – Just A Dream/You Aim To Please – Charted Number 4 – July, 1958

45 – Ace 551 – A Letter to An Angel/A Part of Me – Charted Number 25 and Number 38 (double sided hit) – September, 1958

45 – Ace 560 – My Love is Strong/Ship On A Stormy Sea – March, 1959

45 – Ace 567 – My Own True Love/Little Boy In Love – Charted Number 33 – June, 1959

45 – Ace 575 – Go Jimmy Go/I Trusted You – Charted Number 5 – November, 1959

45 – Ace Extended Play – EP 101 – Jimmy Clanton – 1959

45 – Ace Extended Play – EP 103 – I’m Always Chasing Rainbows – 1959

45 – Ace 585 – Another Sleepless Night/I’m Gonna Try – Charted Number 22 – April, 1960

45 – Ace 51860 (Bonus Release) – The Slave/Rambling Girl – (a mail order promotion as part of the release of Ace Double LP – “Jimmy’s Happy/Jimmy’s Blue) – May, 1960

45 – Ace 600 – Wait/Come Back – Charted Number 91 & Number 63 – August 22nd, 1960

45 – Ace 607 – What Am I Gonna Do/If I – Charted Number 50 – November, 1960

45 – Ace Extended Play – Special Edition – Just A Dream – (A promotional from Green Mountain Wash promoting the motion picture “Go, Johnny, Go!”) – 1960

45 Extended Play – EP 102 – Thinking Of You – 1960

45 – Ace 616 – Down the Aisle/No Longer Blue – February, 1961 (with Mary Ann Mobley)

45 – Ace 622 – I Just Wanna Make Love/Don’t Look At Me – April, 1961

45 – Ace 634 – Lucky In Love With You/Not Like A Brother – August, 1961

45 – Ace 641 – Twist On Little Girl/Wayward Love – November, 1961

Flexi Disc – United Artists Promotional for Teenage Millionaire – 1961

45 – Vin 1028 – What Am I Living For/Wedding Bells – 1961
(Vin was owned by Ace records’ founder Johnny Vincent)

45 – Ace Extended Play 642 – Twist On Little Girl – November, 1961

45 – Ace 664 – Venus In Blue Jeans/Highway Bound – Charted Number 7 – July, 1962
(also released on Ace 8001 also in July, 1962)

45 – Ace 8005 – Darkest Street in Town/Dreams Of a Fool – Charted Number 77 – November, 1962

45 – Ace 8006 – Another Day, Another Heartache/Endless Nights – January, 1963

45 – Ace 8007 – Cindy/I Care Enough (To Give The Very Best) – May, 1963

45 – Philips 40161 – Red Don’t Go With Blue/All The Words In the World – December, 1963

45 – Philips 40181 – I’ll Step Aside/I Won’t Cry Anymore – March, 1964

45 – Philips 40208 – A Million Drums/If I’m A Fool For Loving You – May, 1964

45 – Philips 40219 – Follow The Sun/Lock The Windows, Lock The Doors – September, 1964

45 – Mala 500 – Hurting Each Other/Don’t Keep Pushing Your Friends Away – April, 1965

45 – Mala 516 – Everything I Touch Turns to Tears/That Special Way – November, 1965

45 – Imperial 66242 – C’mon Jim/The Absence Of Lisa – May, 1967

45 – Imperial 66274 – I’ll Be Loving You/Calico Junction – December, 1967

45 – Laurie LR 3508 – Curly/I’ll Never Forget Your Love – Charted Number 97 – July, 1969

45 – Laurie LR 3508 – Curly/The Girl Who Cried “Love” (Once Too Often) – August, 1969

45 – Laurie LR 3534 – Tell Me/I’ll Never Forget Your Love – December, 1969

45 – Spiral GS 3406 – The Coolest Hot Pants – (B side by Piccolino Pops) – March, 1971

45 – Starcrest GRT 078 – Old Rock and Roller (Will It Happen Again) – same track both sides – 1976

Jimmy Clanton Long Play Discography

LP – Ace – LP 1001 – Just Dream – 1959

LP – Ace LP 1007 – Jimmy’s Happy – 1960

LP – Ace LP 1007 – Jimmy’s Blue – 1960

LP – Ace DLP 100 – Jimmy’s Happy/Jimmy’s Blue (double LP) – 1960

LP – Ace LP 1014 – Teenage Millionaire – 1961

LP – Ace LP 1011 – My Best To You – Jimmy’s Golden Dozen – 1962

LP – Ace LP 1026 – Venus In Blue Jeans – 1962

LP – Philips PHM 200-154 – The Best of Jimmy Clanton – January, 1964

LP – Design DLP-176 – Jimmy Clanton and Bristow Hopper – 1964 (budget LP)

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