1966 Sandy – Ronny and the Daytonas
Bill Justis worked for Sun Records in the early to mid-fifties, arranging music for many of their artists. After leaving Sun, he had a number two single with Raunchy in 1957. Bill moved to Nashville in 1961 and became a successful producer.
formed a group with Paul Jensen, Lee Kraft, Thomas Ramey, and Lynn Williams. John performed with the name Ronny Dayton and the group became Ronny and the Daytonas.
John “Bucky” Wilkin was a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. His mother was Marijohn Wilkin, a successful Country music songwriter. She worked with Bill to form Buckhorn Music. Bill produced a session with John in 1964 to record a song he had written as a senior in a physics class. Using Nashville studio musicians, they recorded Little G.T.O.
He told John to come up with a group name, and John named himself Ronny Dayton and tacked on The Daytonas as his imaginary backup group. They signed with Mala Records, a sub-label of Bell Records, to release the single.
The single reached #4 on the Hot 100 in 1964 and sold over a million copies. They added Paul Jensen, Lee Kraft, Thomas Ramey, and Lynn Williams as members of the Daytonas, recorded a complete album, and toured the country to promote their record.
Their next single (California Bound) stalled at #74. They turned their sights back to putting out another song that was clearly about a car.
Jan and Dean released Bucket T on a 1964 album, a song written by Jan and Roger Christiansen. They did not release the song on a single until they put it on the b-side of Batman in 1966. Ronny and the Daytonas covered the song as their third single and it peaked at #54 in early 1965.
A surprise cover of the song came from The Who in 1966.
In 1965, Buzz Cason joined the group and he and Ronny wrote some new songs together for the Daytonas’ second album, Sandy. The title single, which was about a girl rather than a car, broke into the charts in December and peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 in early 1966.
The group released at least nine more singles, but never found their way back to the top forty on the Hot 100 again. The group disbanded by 1968, although a few members reunited to appear in oldies shows beginning in the eighties.
Ronny remained in the Nashville area and found work as a session guitarist on Country and pop records in the seventies, most notably on Outlaw Country albums by Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.
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