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Freddie Bell & The Bellboys

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This early US rock ‘n’ roll six-piece outfit was led by singer Freddie Bell (b. Ferdinando Dominico Bello, 29 September 1931, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 11 February 2008, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA), and also featured Jack Kane (saxophone), Jerry Mayo (trumpet), Frankie Brent (bass/guitar), Russ Conti (piano), and Chick Keeney (drums). Their ‘big band’ style of rock ‘n’ roll included a cover version of Big Mama Thornton’s ‘Hound Dog’ for the Teen label in 1955. Elvis Presley saw them performing the song live in April 1956 and recorded his own version in July. The Bellboys achieved another landmark by appearing in the first rock ‘n’ roll movie - Rock Around The Clock - in 1956. They were also the first US rock act to tour the UK, supporting Tommy Steele in 1956. Their best-known number was also released that year, ‘Giddy Up A Ding Dong’, and became a number 4 hit in the UK. Other singles included ‘The Hucklebuck’, ‘Teach You To Rock’ and ‘Rockin’ Is My Business’. Another film appearance was in the 1964 pop exploitation movie Get Yourself A College Girl (The Swinging Set in the UK), where Roberta Linn sang with them. The Animals, the Dave Clark Five and the Standells also featured. On the strength of a few hits Bell sustained a career for nearly 50 years. Performing as the Freddie Bell Show, he held a residency in Las Vegas for most of the year and toured the world in the remaining weeks.

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