Saturday, July 21, 2012

Joe Dowell

Before Elvis imitators became big business, there was a cottage industry for Elvis proxies. These were singers who released songs which were recorded by Elvis, but which were not hits. Terry Stafford comes to mind, as does Ral Donner.

Joe Dowell’s big moment was Elvis-related, and he followed that up with 2 more top 100 singles before he disappeared once and for all.

Joe Dowell:

Wooden Heart – It’s what he does not have. Partly sung in German, this polka had been a number 1 hit for Elvis in Europe, and Smash Records and Joe Dowell took advantage of RCA’s decision not to release it as a single in the US. Dowell’s version went to #1 in the fall of 1961. 
Little Red Rented Rowboat – This paean to humbleness (not humility, humbleness) was Dowell’s swansong, in the summer of 1962.

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