Ricky Coyne was born in 1943 in Newton, Massachusetts, but grew up in Waltham and Watertown. He became interested in music in the early 1950s and was influenced by Country artists. When the Rockabilly sound came from Memphis, Tennessee, in 1956 and the famed Sun Records artists like Carl Perkins, Sonny Burgess, Warren Smith, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bill Justis rose to fame with this new brand of music, Coyne was amazed. Another big influence on him was Johnny Burnette's Rock'n'Roll Trio that recorded for Coral Records.
|Ricky Coyne (standing) and his Guitar Rockers|
The ass-backwards story I've gotten over the years is the Fenwick story that "Rollin Pin Min" (or "Mim") was released on Fenwick before Event. I remember it in the opposite. Fenwick became aware of the Event release and perhaps test marketed in Philadelphia."Fenwick was a local Philadelphia label owned by Dick Clark, who hosted the popular music show "American Bandstand" in Philadelphia. Perhaps we will never know which single was released first. However, two more records followed on Event, including the songs "Little Darlene" and "Angel from Heaven." The latter was originally written by Mel McGonnigle but he gave it to Coyne because McGonnigle had no more interest in a music career. After the first Event record, piano player Randy Martin was replaced by Dave Randall, while Kenny Paulson played lead guitar on "I Want You to Know." Coyne's singles became local hits in New England and he and his band had the chance to play at the Boston Ballroom and perform on some TV shows like the Record Shop Hop and the Gerry Kearney Show from Manchester, New Hampshire. They also shared the stage with such acts as Frankie Avalon, Jimmy Clanton, Lillian Briggs, Freddy Cannon, Conway Twitty, Link Wray, Bobby and the Orbits, Sleepy LaBeef, and many more.
|Billboard review on May 4, 1959|
Two of the original Guitar Rockers already passed away. Dave Randall died at the young age of 27 in 1969 in an automobile accident, while Rich Valletta died around 2006 in Arizona. Coyne is still well alive and from time to time he can be seen on stage. With a string of records out, he is perhaps the most successful New England rockabilly artist that emerged from the 1950s local Boston scene.
Sources: Rockin' Country Style, Billboard, special thanks to Mr. Ricky Coyne and his son