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'Party Doll' Has Meant the World to Buddy Knox

August 17, 1996|BUDDY SEIGAL

Also appearing at Sunday's roots-rock show at the Foothill will be Buddy Knox, another original rockabilly cat, but one who proffered a kinder, gentler brand of music than Gene Vincent and his ferocious Blue Caps.

Knox, 63, grew up in Happy, Texas, and was cut from a similar cloth as his Lone Star compadre Buddy Holly. Knox's big hit was 1956's "Party Doll," a melodic, typically hiccupy performance that remains a staple of oldies radio stations.

But Knox remains much less well-known than Vincent, Holly, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and other rockabilly performers of the '50s.

"I think that's . . . because all my buddies are gone," Knox said in a recent interview from his home near Vernon, British Columbia. "Orbison's gone, Holly's gone, Presley's gone, and I'm still hanging in there. I'll take the lack of notoriety in order to hang around a little longer."

Knox never left the music business and has been touring an average of seven to 10 months a year since his "Party Doll" heyday--much of that overseas.

"All through Europe, they're completely dedicated," he said. "Australia's similar to that too. We have sell-out crowds everywhere, and we're talking 3,500-seaters. They just hang on to rockabilly and don't give it up--thank God, because that's what keeps us in business."

He has, however, been welcomed in Las Vegas and has been invited to play at the Nostalgia Theater in Branson, Mo. Knox is an inductee in the Texas Music Hall of Fame and has been nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame but doesn't expect to see his name immortalized while he's still breathing.

"Shoot, they'll probably want to wait until I'm gone," he said. "But I'm gonna make 'em wait another 10 years at least!"

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