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A Salute To Sonny Curtis

In rock there are names that are legend, so iconic that we can call them by either only their first name (Jimi, Elvis, Janis, Lemmy) or their last (Bowie, Jagger, Page, McCartney) and know exactly who they are. Then there are people who have had amazing careers and done spectacular things, but not quite reached the status of icon. For instance Bill Withers is one of the best song writers of the 20th century but it's not likely you'll see his face on a teenager's shirt any time soon. Then there are guys whose name you rarely hear, but when you look closer you find out they had careers that most can only dream of. Sonny Curtis is in this category.

Sonny played with Buddy Holly early in his career, and even recorded with him in his early Decca days before he had fully developed the sound that made him famous. He was playing with Buddy when Buddy was opening for Elvis on an early tour. Sonny wasn't in the original Crickets, as Buddy put that band together after Sonny had moved on. But after Buddy's death Sonny joined the Crickets and toured and recorded on and off with them for decades.

Sonny also played on the last recording session for Eddie Cochran, including his posthumous hit Three Steps To Heaven. Sonny was an accomplished songwriter in his own right. He wrote the Everly Brothers' hit Walk Right Back. He wrote the very Buddy Holly sounding I Fought The Law, which has been covered countless times, but was a big hit for The Bobby Fuller Four. The song that has probably been heard by the most people though is Love Is All Around. This song was used as the theme for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The most amazing thing about Curtis is that he did all this, yet most people don't know his name. He is in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville.


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