| "Bill Haley & the Comets" started things off in 1955 with "Rock Around the Clock" and artists such as Elvis, Little Richard, Pat Boone, Chuck Berry, the Platters and the Penguins were selling records and attracting enthusiastic crowds nationally during the early years of rock & roll. In Minnesota and the Midwest, groups such as "The Radiants", "Damon Lee & the Diablos", the "Ricochets" and Kay Bee recording artists "Jerry Roberts & the Toppers" were packing the ballrooms around the Twin Cities and throughout the north country. |
We don't have a lot of information about the Radiants, but it's a cool
picture, and they've got neat
guitars, a spiffy sparkle drum set, and great hair with that
classic 50's look.
my mother managed the group,
and that's reason enough to
include "The Radiants" on this
rock & roll history page!
By 1957, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly were on the charts and Ricky Nelson had a couple of hit singles, along with Paul Anka, the Diamonds, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Coasters and more from Elvis and Chuck Berry. And who will ever forget those Midwest rock
& roll pioneers, "The Ricochets"?
Just about everybody, it seems....
But that's the price you pay for being one of the first bands in Minnesota to play the "new" music of the 50's!
Good management and a little bit of luck made all the difference for these
musical legends, as mom helped them become one of the most popular teen bands in the Midwest ballroom and Twin Cities nightclub circuit during the late 50's.
1959 - 1960
Jerry Roberts & the Toppers
| In 1958 a group called "The Champs" made it to the top of the charts with a sax instrumental called "Tequila" and soon every rock & roll band in the country featured a saxophone. The Midwest led the way when a group called "Jerry Roberts & the Toppers" brought in Robert Burtis (senior) to play piano and alto sax. While the national charts and radio playlists were topped with hit singles by David Seville, Sheb Wooley, Danny & the Juniors, Elvis, and Jerry Lee Lewis, "The Toppers" dominated the airwaves in the Midwest with back-to-back original releases on Kay Bee records of "Be True" and "Rendezvous".
This group brought
modern rock & roll music to Minnesota
and made the Midwest music scene
what it is today (although it might be
rather senseless to try and assess
blame at this point, since many of the
band members have passed away...)
|Original Recordings by Jerry Roberts & the Toppers|
Kay Paul & Jerry Roberts
|RIGHT CLICK TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE|