Rockin' Roary R.I.P. Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chris Müller of Cri-Lex Records, the company for which Rockin' Roary recorded his CD's "The Guard Of Rock 'N' Roll" (1995) and "Rockin' Up The Country" (1996), informed me today that my friend Rockin' Roary passed away on July 28, 2009. Roary was a great rock 'n' roller and a Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee since 1999, I spent a lot of time with him while he was living in Germany. I had the great pleasure to book him for gigs in our clubhouse on several occasions, and we often spent night after night discussing rock 'n' roll and drinking beers till the early morning. His passing is a great loss for the rock 'n' roll community, but also it makes me feel really sad for losing a good friend. His death was, at least to me, very unexpected. I got an e-mail from Roary in March this year, and he told me he was spending time in China where he tried to escape from his "old" life.

Roary said: "There have always been two souls fighting in me since I was 7, the musician and the Wu Shu enthusiast. I have had a schoolmate in elementary school with Chinese roots and his father trained him and me in the chinese martial arts. By the side of the music I always found time to do also this sport. Since 1975 I own the official trainer/instructor license. I delayed it for a while in end of the 80's, beginning of the 90's, when music actions became to strong, to much... but I never forgot to work on myself. And when the day came in 2005, I had to decide what to do ... and here I was going way to China ... my wife here belongs also to one of the Wu Shu families and so I am at the right place now. I will see what life has prepared for us. Hey, it's real fun ... Music I do also with some Chinese boys, but more or less for fun. European or american music is not really hip here ... especially not the old music. Wishing you a good time, Cordially, Roary."

--Marijn 'The BlackCat' Raaijmakers, July 2009--

The History of  Rockin' Roary 

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Rockin' Roary began his musical career in 1957, aged seven, singin' with his father's band, the "Eric West Big Band". His father arranged songs of the 40s for him, so that Little Roary could stay in Big Daddy's afternoon and early evening family shows. During his school years, he took professional training in voice and composition, as well as lessons in drum, guitar, trumpet and bass. In his young age, heavily influenced by artists such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Rick Nelson, later by Beach Boys, Beatles and CCR, he broke with his father in 1963, to form his first own Band, of course a Rock 'n' Roll and Beat Band.

From 1966 he roamed the world singing and performing, at first with his own Bands "Deadman's Row", "Highway", "Westwind" and "The Stone Valley Band", but later also as a one man show and entertainer, earning him the nicknames "Travelin' Man" and "Guard of Rock'n' Roll". The years on road and touring around the world arose Roary's willful, various and independent Rock 'n' Roll and Country Rock Style. These years on road showed him the different ways of life, third class stages in South America's (Brazil, Equador, Panama) contact bars until the first class show stages in North America's and Africa's Country and Sporting Clubs. From the "Knuckle Bustin Joints" to the "Million Dollar Clubs" he has continuously delighted audiences from all walks of life.

In the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies he was successful on Radio Airplay in the USA and Europe with songs, such as "Hello, Mary Lou", "Born on the river", "Country rock heaven" and "Lips like a sin". Because of the success in Europe he went there in the 70s and settled down in Germany. But after the ups in the end of the 60s and early 70s, the downs came fast and easily with the Disco Wave. He had to survive his music was 'out', youth prefered the discos listening to strange sounds of strange artists. Roary was not the kind of artist to go the same way other artists did, jump on a wave and swim on it, no he could not change his music like a dirty t-shirt. So more or less he did cheap gigs, for some dollars and dimes, and several times he was a truck driving man or did other odd jobs that earned him some money for living.

In 1993 he met a producer on an event in Cologne (Germany). He remebered his name and involved him in a Country Rock project. Roary reworked some of his old stuff, took new material along with it and the CD "The Guard of Rock 'n' Roll" was born. This was his return to the international music scene. Two months after the album was released worldwide, primary in the USA, his phone was ringin' and a man intoduced hisself with the words, "Hello, this is Mike Waddell, from Nashville, Tennessee, I listened to your music on some US radio stations. It's pretty fine music. Are you interested to work with me?" Yes, Mike Waddell, the promotor of stars like Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Pattie Loveless, etc. phoned with Rockin' Roary and offered to work with him. No question about whatever, takin' the next flight to the USA, a contract with Mike Waddell and things worked on. A very successful work.

In the end of 1995, Roary was honored by CMAA's awarded "Airplay International" with KING EAGLE AWARDS in the categories "International Entertainer of the Year '94-'95", "International Artist of the Year '94-'95" and for his lifework on and in music the "Trailblazer Award '94-'95". Awarded again on September, 28, 1996 for the year of '96 as "International Entertainer of the Year" and "International Single Record of the Year" for the song "Rockin' at the Dance Hall". In addition of all these successes the "European Parliament" in Brussels honored him with the performance on their yearly X-Mas Party in '95, '96, '97, '99 and was also invited for 2000.

So Rockin' Roary became the first "European Parliament Singer". Inducted into the official "Rockabilly Hall of Fame" as "Legend of Rockabilly" on September, 14th, 1999.  "Space Star Award 1999" on September, 19th, by Independent Music Industry Association USA-Europe, as "International Entertainer of the Decade". With all these awards and honors Rockin' Roary now is the highest awarded European artist / entertainer in the USA and Europe. Roary is definitely "Rockin' Roary", a unique individual and self made man. And the music is still goin' on. More than 2000 voting radio stations, worldwide, can't be wrong!

Story by Rockin' Roary, 2001
Used with permission.

Check out the Rockin' Roary Scrapbook too !!