Weatherford Democrat

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September 19, 2013

Rockabilly legend Mac Curtis dies

Injury from vehicle wreck kills Weatherford man whose music became wildly popular in Europe


Curtis told the Democrat that they were compared to Elvis before they knew the rising star existed.

After being told that their song was being played on a jukebox at Dairy Queen, “we piled in the car and got up there and he started it up,” Curtis said in 2010. “I saw a yellow label spinning around with someone sounding like me. It was Elvis. It was the first time we ever heard of Elvis.”

During one of the group’s Elvis-like performances at Weatherford High School, school officials shut down the show, removing the boys from the stage for “lewd and suggestive gyrations.”

When one of his classmates apologized at their 50th high school for walking out on that performance, Curtis said he told her that they did the group a favor because people began showing up for their performances.

The group signed with King Records of Cinncinnati, known for their rhythm and blues and country and western music, in 1955 and released their first single “If I Had Me a Woman,” followed afterward by other singles.

After returning to Weatherford and graduating in 1957, Curtis joined the U.S. Army, working as a DJ and director of country music for the armed forces radio network in South Korea and performing his music at night.

But when he returned home in 1960, rockabilly had gone out of style.

Curtis began working at radio stations across the U.S. and playing traditional country music on the side, releasing a couple of albums.

In the 1970s, as rockabilly took hold in Europe, Curtis was contacted by Ron Weiser while working as a DJ in Los Angeles and began recording with fellow Texan Ray Campi for Rollin Rock Records, which released the new rockabilly records overseas.

More popular in Europe than in his home country, Curtis began touring in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, even playing in Europe as recently as last year.

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