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.



  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).

    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

    2. Great stuff! Thank you for the history.

  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".

  3. I remember Sands. At the time , I viewed him as a rebellious teen setting a bad example for us. He certainly set industry standards without knowing it. Hope he's OK and happy.

  4. I first met Tommy in the '50s. A friend of mine, Otis Echols, had known Tommy from Shreveport when he was a young man and was singing on the Louisiana Hayride. He started when he was real young and he and Elvis became good friends and in later years he toured with Elvis. Otis called me in Lubbock and asked if I would look
    out for Tommy who was scheduled to preform at the college arena at Texas Tech. I said I would be pleased to meet him and show him around. When Tommy arrived it turned out that we were about the same age and we got along beautifully.
    There a lengthy history here and I would love to make contact with Tommy and reminisce about the few year history that we shared. If anyone can contact him and let him know I am trying I would appreciate it. I can be reached at

    1. John, it was surprising to hear Odis and Tommy in the same sentence. I got to meet Tommy, when He came to Albuqueque to do a concert for Odis when He ran for Governor. I grew up in Honolulu and promised I would go to hear His radio show. The was 1975. Still go to Hawaii 2 twice a year. Should start looking for Him. Dan

    2. Wife saw him at a Senior home in Sun City, CA. several years ago.

  5. Great Stuff John...It's my understanding that Tommy enjoys this blog. You may be hearing from him very soon.

  6. My first concert and my first crush. I was 10. In Buffalo New York.

  7. About the early 2000 I had a talent agency on hollywood bleed next to capitol. i was about 50, having met tommy sands at 16 while delivering pizzas on sunset he agave me a 5.00 tip and was wearing all elegant designer star wear, like ddd byrnes kookie he as a real star. AS a kid I went to see sing boy \sing the movie, then babes in toy land with annette, I couldn't get his number from anyone? then bang I called information and just asked for it in north hollywood, It was him, I said can i get you connected again, I have taken all your records and put them on cassette and all photos and have a grew t press book/ later he called me and wrote me a thank you letter, what ever the reason their will never be another like tommy, by the way i think the capitol records recording of all the old arrangements could have and should have been more teen oriented tommy was famous and his teenage crush was great but he only scratched the surface of his talent..... May be Harry connick can do a salute of tommys songs.... thanks richard degrandcourt, I am sorry about the divorce with miss sinatra however i had zone too , love sometimes is painful!