Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1964 Nashville Teens – Tobacco Road

Six British musicians formed the Cruisers in Weybridge. They later recruited not one but two new lead singers in 1962. They changed their name to the Nashville Teens, basing their name on the Everly Brothers song Nashville Blues.

Like many other British groups in the early sixties, they moved to Hamburg, Germany and played in clubs. They also began doing studio work and even backed up Jerry Lee Lewis on his live album. They also played backup music for recordings by other musicians, including Carl Perkins.

When they returned to England, they played in concerts with Chuck Berry. That caught the attention of Mickie Most, who produced their first single in 1964.

John D. Loudermilk wrote the song Tobacco Road as a semi-autobiographical folk song about growing up in Durham, North Carolina. He recorded the song in 1960 but the single was not a hit.

The Nashville Teens recorded a hard rock version of the song in 1964 that peaked at #14 on the US Hot 100 and reached #6 in the UK.

The group next released another song written by John, Google Eye. The record made it into the top ten in the UK but only got as high as #117 in the US.

The group’s only other Hot 100 record came in 1965 when Find My Way Back Home spent one week at #99 and another week at #98. That single and The Little Bird reached #34 and #38 in the UK; afterward, they never again charted in the UK top forty.

The group split up in 1973. One of the original members of the group (lead singer Ray Phillips) reformed the Nashville Teens with a completely new group of musicians in 1980. He has continued replacing members as necessary and still tours as the Nashville Teens.

The group maintains a website at http://www.nashville-teens.com/.


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