Top nav bar nav to ome page Link to Artist listings Link to Record Companies listing Link to music selection Link to the chart listings Link to News articals from the 1950 - 1960 Full artist listing Artists A -C Artists D - F Artists G - I Artists J - L Artists M - O Artists P - R Artist S - U Artists V - Z
Biography 1 Discography Similar Artists

ArtistBonnie Lou

Referenced from www.answers.com

Music Style Rock n Roll

Profile:
Born: October 27, 1924, Bloomington, IL
Active: '50s
Genres: Rock n Roll, Country
Instrument: Vocals
Representative Albums: "Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk", "Friction Heat (1953-58)"
Representative Songs: "Seven Lonely Days", "Daddy-O", "Tennessee Wig-Walk"

Country and rockabilly performer Bonnie Lou was born Mary Jo Kath in Talawanda, IL, on October 27, 1924. The signal from Chicago's AM powerhouse WLS reached loud and clear into central Illinois, and Bonnie grew up listening to Prairie Ramblers recordings featuring the yodeling cowgirl vocals of Patsy Montana. Mary also learned to yodel, both through those old records and the influence of her Swiss grandmother. She also studied violin and guitar as a child. By 16, Mary was singing on a radio show in Bloomington, IL; two years later, she was performing as Sally Carson with the Brush Creek Follies radio variety show, airing each Saturday from KMBC in Kansas City. The Brush Creek Follies program was regularly broadcast nationwide through the Columbia radio network. This valuable exposure led Mary to WLW in Ohio, where station exec Bill McLuskey hired her as a singer and yodeler with his Midwestern Hayride country & western radio program. McLuskey also christened Mary with the Bonnie Lou moniker. While with the Hayride, Bonnie performed regularly with the Girls of the Golden West, a cowboy yodeling combo she used to hear on WLS as a child.

While a few of her radio performances were cut to acetate and eventually released, it wasn't until the 1950s that Bonnie had any real success as a recording artist. Signing with the local Cincinnati label King in 1953, Bonnie had hits with "Tennessee Wig Walk" and "Seven Lonely Days," which both broke the Top Ten on the country charts. When the rockabilly sound hit, Bonnie recorded "Daddy-O" for King; the single went to number 14 on the Billboard charts in 1955-1956. The Rusty York duet "Lah Dee Dah" followed in 1958. After another uneventful York duet, Bonnie left King for another Cinci local, Fraternity. There she released several singles, though none found the success her early work for King had. Bonnie also continued to work with the Midwestern Hayride, which by this point had spun off the television program Louisiana Hayride. She eventually retired from the business and settled in Cincinnati with her husband, Mort.

Bonnie's choice to work and live in Cincinnati prevented her from finding the nationwide fame that a contract with RCA or another big label would have. However, she was a prime mover in the first days of rockabilly, and has seen many of her early recordings reissued on niche labels like Bear Family and WestSide, which issued the definitive collection of her King years with 2000's Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi

Bonnie Lou (born Mary Jo Kath October 27, 1924, Talawanda, Indiana) is an American rock and roll and country music singer. During the mid 1950s, rock and roll was the hottest selling music on the market. Few women however ventured into this territory, like Bonnie Lou. Bonnie Lou was one of the first female rock and roll stars who proved to the public that female singers could indeed sing rock and roll.

Like most rock and roll singers during the 1950s, Bonnie Lou's singles were also country music hits.

Early life and rise to fame Bonnie Lou's real name is Mary Jo Kath, and she was born in 1924 in Illinois. Mary grew up listening to Patsy Montana and her band "The Prairie Ramblers", and was greatly inspired by her. Mary learned how to yodel, which was from the help of her Swiss grandmother. As a child she learned how to play two instruments, the violin and guitar. By the young age of 16, she was singing and performing on a local radio show in Bloomington, Illinois. By age 18, Mary went on a bigger radio show, which aired in Kansas City, Missouri. Her exposure on this radio show in Kansas City, helped her land a job as a singer on WLW Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio, where station executive Bill McCluskey hired Mary as a singer a yodeler for his radio show called Midwestern Hayride Country & Western Radio Program. McCluskey was the one who gave Mary Jo the stage name she would be known by for the rest of her life, "Bonnie Lou". While on the radio show in Cincinnati, Lou performed regularly with Country Music girl group the Girls of the Golden West, which Lou listened to as a child.

Bonnie Lou continued radio performances until the end of the 1940s. Her radio performances were even cut to acetate and released to the public. However, Bonnie Lou never truly broke as a recording artist until the 1950s.

Country and rock and roll star in the 1950s
In 1953, Lou signed on with her first record company called King Records in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the beginning stages of her recording career, Lou recorded Country Music material and released it. Bonnie soon had big Country Music hits with "Tennessee Wig Walk" and "Seven Lonely Days". Both songs were Top 10 country hits. The flip side of her hit "Seven Lonely Days" featured the song "Just Out of Reach", which would later be covered by other Country singers, like Patsy Cline, Billie Jo Spears, Jean Shepard, and k.d. Lang.

Soon, Bonnie started recording rockabilly or rock and roll. In 1954, she recorded the song "Two-Step Side-Step", which was written by Murry Wilson, who is the father of The Beach Boys, Carl, Brian, and Dennis. In 1955, she released her first rock and roll record called "Daddy-O". The song was a Top 15 pop hit that year, and turned Lou into a rock and roll star overnight. The song was later covered by The Fontaine Sisters on the Dot Records label. It wasn't until 1958 though that Bonnie had another hit, this a duet with Rusty York called "La Dee Dah". They soon reorded a Teen Pop song together called "I Let the School Bell Ding-a-Ling". Soon, Lou left the King label for another Cincinnati record label called Fraternity. She released several different singles for Fraternity, one of which were as successful as her singles for the King label.

Later career and personal life today Bonnie spent more and more of her later career on television, co-hosting the Paul Dixon Show in Cincinnati. But in keeping faithful to her Country Music roots, she also became a regular on WLWT's Midwestern Hayride, (a show inspired by the legendary Shreveport-based Louisiana Hayride) until it went off the air in the early 70s. Bonnie Lou also appeared on the Ruth Lyon's 50-50 Club, a local show produced in Cincinnati, Ohio. After Dixon's death in late 1974, Lou quietly went into retirement and settled in Cincinnati, with her husband Milt, who she has claimed as one of her biggest supporters. They currently own homes in Cincinnati, Ohio and Cape Coral, Florida. After marrying Milt, Lou reverted back to her real name Mary Jo, and as Okum's wife took his last name for herself. The couple are now retired and spend part of their time in Florida and Cincinnati.

In 2000, the CD, Bonnie Lou - Doin' the Tennessee Walk - The Best of the King Years was released, featuring all of her big hits under King Records.

ArtistBonnie Lou

Referenced from www.last.fm

Music Style:Rock n Roll

Profile:

Artist Bonnie Lou

Referenced from www.discgos.com

Music Style:Rock n Roll

Profile:

Artist

Referenced from www.spotify.com

Music Style:Rock n Roll

Profile:

Artist Recording Company Track number Chart Position      
             
           
             
           
             
           
             
           
             
           
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             

Referenced from www.answers.com Redd Stewart, Rosalie Allen, Eddie Dean, Al Dexter

footer recoding companies

References: The Sound of the City ( The Rise of Rock and Roll ) by Charlie Gillett, A Brief history of Rock n Roll by Nick Johnstone, web links www.wikipedia.com www.discogs.com www.spotify.com www.last.fm copyright david crowfoot 2009, 2010.