Monday, September 5, 2011

Whatever Happened to Tommy Sands? The Definition of Teen Rock Star!

Tommy Sands-Then


From a Guest Contributor:

Once upon a time TOMMY SANDS was the definition of teenage "ROCK STAR" and served as the mold for many young entertainers who followed him into 'stardom', however fleeting that "stardom" may have been. 

Paul Anka, Fabian, Frankie Avalon and many other teen idols were Tommy Sands clones.

Tommy Sands rose like a sky rocket from obscurity in the 1950's and commanded "STAR" status until 1965 when he seemingly disappeared from the music world, film and the public eye. 

Sands came from Shreveport, Louisiana. His father was a musician and his mother a band singer. His mother gave 'Little Tommy' his first guitar at age 7 and by age 12 he was singing on local radio. He soon came to the attention of Colonel Parker (Elvis Presley's manager) and Tommy cut his first record at age 14 under Parker's management.

Tommy and Nancy Sands
Tommy Sands big break and national attention came in 1957 when Kraft Theater cast him as a teen idol (in the tradition of Elvis Presley) in a TV "Special" and Sands became an instant success selling millions of records. A movie contract followed shortly thereafter and he made a number of forgettable, but profitable films.   

Tommy Sands married Nancy Sinatra (Franks daughter) in 1960 and divorced her in 1965. After their divorce there were reports that 'daddy Sinatra' saw to it that Sands was shut out of the "the business". 

Tommy Sands-Now
Whatever the real story, Tommy Sands vanished from the spotlight, went to Hawaii, opened a night club (in which he performed) and owned a retail clothing business.

Today Tommy Sands is 74 years old and lives in Hawaii.

Editors comment: As a kid growing up in the 1950's we can easily recall Tommy Sands and thank our guest contributor for this bit of nostalgia.

J.                   

4 comments:

  1. I was singing for Cliffie Stone (he hosted Cliffie Stone's Hometown Jamboree on KTLA TV 5 out of Los Angeles (show was at Harmony Park Ballroom, Anaheim, CA). Tommy was on the show; and during rehersals, Molly Bee would talk with my mother and I'd stand on-stage watching Speedee West play the Steel Guitar. One day I was standing there about 3 feet from Tommy Sands and he was singing. Cliffie yelled out "would someone turn the PA on, I can't hear him (Tommy". I suddenly, standing 3 feet from him, I did not realize that he was singing. He sings/sang so soft, that at 3 feet, I didn't know he was singing. Never saw or heard from Tommy after Hometown Jamboree; although as far as I know he and I are the only Cliffee Stone talents left (yes, Col. Parker was actually Tommy's manager).

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    1. Please note Thomas Crane 2013 U.S. Tour came up as my sign-in; and I no longer (business wise) am associated with Mr. Crane (who I still like as a friend). It should read Don L. Kirk as the poster of the comment.

      Since I was only 11 and Tommy and I met ever so shortly, I'm sure he does not remember me; but, that one incident of his singing so soft that at 3' I couldn't hear him I'll never forget. I have hearing and nasal problems now and remembering that singing soft works, I now can sing on-stage some songs again. I thank Tommy and that instance for that help. Don Kirk concert.tour@yahoo.com

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    2. Great stuff! Thank you for the history.

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  2. Glad to hear that Tommy is alive and well in Hawaii. Thought he died several years ago of heart attack, Glad to be proven wrong.
    I still sing his song "that's all I want from you".

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