FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – If you grew up during the early years of rock and roll and listened to Top 40 radio, you more than likely heard this fabulous musician and his big hit of 1956.
Bill Doggett was a native of Philadelphia. Born in 1916, he dreamed of playing the trumpet but his family couldn’t afford the lessons. Instead, his mother (who was a church pianist) talked him into playing keyboard and that stuck. By age 13, he had his own band, The Five Majors. Later he assumed leadership of the Jimmy Gorman Band but sold it to Lucky Millander, a big band/jazz orchestra leader. Doggett subsequently work for him off and on for another four years, and made his recording debut in 1939, “Little Old Lady From Baltimore” and “All Aboard.” He worked with such talents as The Ink Spots, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Ella Fitzgerald.
He had his own organ/piano combo at a New York nightclub called The Baby Grand in 1952. Little did he know that, four years later, a song he would release on the King Records label would hit #2 on the Billboard Pop and #1 on the Billboard R&B. “Honky Tonk,” written by Doggett and Billy Butler, was an instrumental that sold four million copies. Clifford Scott was featured on the record on saxophone. For a guy who was a big band/jazz fellow, he made it on Top 40 radio! A dream song for that Top 40 DJ who was trying to time out hitting a local or network newscasts!
Here it is… the full version… From August 1956… Honky Tonk (Parts 1 & 2) !