Dorsey Burnette

Dorsey Burnette (December 28, 1932 - August 19, 1979) was an early Rockabilly singer from Memphis, Tennessee and with his younger brother Johnny Burnette and a friend named Paul Burlison was one of the founder members of The Rock and Roll Trio. The ‘e’ at the end of the name was added later. His younger brother John Joseph (Johnny) was born nearly fifteen months later on March 25, 1934. The Burnette Brothers grew up in a public housing project in the Lauderdale Courts area of Memphis, which from 1948 until 1954, was also the home of Gladys and Vernon Presley and their son, Elvis. In November 1957, the brothers were approached by songwriter John Marascalco, who had written Ready Teddy and Rip It Up for Little Richard, as well as Good Night My Love and other hits. He was looking for a singer to help him with a new song called Bertha Lou. Dorsey and Johnny went into the Master Recorders Studio in Hollywood and backed by Odell Hull (lead guitar), Danny Flores (piano) and H B Barnum (drums) cut two tracks, Bertha Lou and ‘Till The Law Says Stop. It was originally planned that Johnny should sing the lead vocals, but when he recalled that he was still under contract to Coral Records, Dorsey suggested that nobody would care if he sang the song. The vocal duties were switched, with Johnny singing some of the backing vocals. The two sides were released as a single (Surf SR5019-45) under Dorsey’s name. Contrary to expectations, however, Coral threatened to sue and so label owner, Kenny Babcock withdrew the record. Not wishing for the session to be completely wasted, however, Babcock had Dorsey’s voice overdubbed with that of one of his own singers, Johnny Faire (also known as John Faircloth). Surf SR5019-45 was subsequently re-released as by Johnny Faire. Johnny Faire was later to change his name and find fame as Donnie Brooks. Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.