Tommy Roe - Hanky Panky
Tommy Roe - Hanky Panky
Roe was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, where he attended Brown High
School. After graduating, he landed a job at General Electric soldering wires.
Tommy Roe first recorded his original song “Sheila” in 1960 for Jud Phillips’s Judd label. “I
wrote this poem for a girl I had a crush on in high school, and her name was Freda,” recalled
Roe in 2015. “[Jud Phillips said,] ‘Son, I like that song but we gotta do somethin’ about that
title.’ So he sent me home and Aunt Sheila was visiting that weekend. The rest is history!”
The Judd single, misspelled “Shelia” and credited to “Tommy Roe and the Satins,” is simpler
than the more famous hit, with a standard vocal, rhythm combo, and backing chorus. It was a
regional hit but did not chart nationally.
Roe re-recorded the song for ABC-Paramount in 1962, with a new hook: an insistent drum
paradiddle modeled on the 1957 hit “Peggy Sue.”
In 1963, Roe scored a Top 10 hit with “Everybody”, which reached US number 3 and UK
number 9, and “The Folk Singer” (number 4 UK) written by Merle Kilgore was also popular.
Following a more successful tour of the United Kingdom by his friend Roy Orbison, Roe
toured there and then moved to England where he lived for several years. In 1964, Roe
recorded a song written by Buzz Cason entitled “Diane From Manchester Square”, about a girl
who worked at EMI House when it was based in London’s Manchester Square. Sales of this
single in the UK were poor, and it failed to chart. During the 1960s, he had several more Top
40 hits, including 1966’s number 8 “Sweet Pea” (number 1 Canada) and number 6 “Hooray
for Hazel” (number 2 Canada).
In 1969, his song “Dizzy” went to number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, number 1 in Canada,
as well as number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. This transatlantic chart-topper sold
two million copies by mid-April 1969, giving him his third gold disc award. His final Top
10 single, a track co-written with Freddy Weller, titled “Jam Up and Jelly Tight”, became his
fourth gold record, peaking at number 8 in the U.S. and number 5 in Canada in 1970.
Although his style of music declined in popularity with the 1970s mass market, Roe
maintained a following and continued to perform at a variety of concert venues, sometimes
with 1960s nostalgia rock and rollers such as Freddy Cannon and Bobby Vee. He recorded
numerous singles in the late 1970s and 1980s aimed at the country music market. In 1986,
Roe was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and his pioneering contribution to
the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
On February 7, 2018, Roe officially announced his retirement on his Facebook page.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Tommy Roe among hundreds of
artists whose material reportedly was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
1. Hanky Panky 2:47
2. Sugar Sugar 2:18
3. Crimson And Clover 3:47
4. Heather Honey 2:51
5. Soap Sally 2:40
6. Stagger Lee 3:05
7. Groovin’ 2:44
8. Baby I Love You 2:31
9. Jack And Jill 2:21
10. The Folk Singer 3:21
11. Stir It Up And Serve It 2:30
12. Working Class Hero 3:25
13. Yummy Yummy Yummy 2:12
14. Dizzy 2:54
15. Sheila 2:06
16. Jam Up And Jelly Tight 2:19
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