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Boyd Bennett, 77; Band Leader Wrote Pop Hits in the '50s

June 08, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Boyd Bennett, 77, who wrote the 1950s hit "Seventeen," died of a lung ailment Sunday in Sarasota, Fla.

Bennett's band, Boyd Bennett and His Rockets, hit pay dirt in 1955 with "Seventeen," a song that became a No. 5 pop hit. He followed that with the song "My Boy Flat-Top."

Bennett was the general manager of WLKY-TV in Louisville in the early 1960s and appeared on WAVE-TV in the '50s.

The songwriter, musician and TV producer was born in Muscle Shoals, Ala., but was raised in North Davidson, Tenn., just outside Nashville. He got into music by singing gospel songs with his grandfather and started his career playing guitar in honky-tonk bars.

Bennett served in the Navy in World War II and suffered a serious leg injury on D-day.

After leaving the music business in the 1960s, he owned nightclubs and, later, a company that made parts for air-conditioning systems.

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