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|Birth name||Jerry Naylor Jackson|
March 6, 1939 |
Chalk Mountain, Texas, U.S.
|Genres||Country, rock and roll|
|Occupation(s)||Recording artist, television and radio personality, inspirational speaker.|
|Associated acts||The Crickets|
Jerry Naylor (born March 6, 1939) is an American country and rock and roll artist and broadcaster and inspirational speaker, who was the lead singer of The Crickets following the death of Buddy Holly.
Early life and career
Jerry Naylor Jackson was born in Chalk Mountain, Texas to a great depression farming family. His mother played piano in their local church and encouraged Jerry's love of music. Jerry listened to the greats of Country music such as Hank Williams, Sr., Lefty Frizzell, Bob Wills (with whom he shared his birthday) and Slim Whitman, and Whitman's steel guitar player, Hoot Raines, led the 9-year old Naylor to purchase and learn to play a steel guitar with money he earned picking cotton. By 12-years old, Jerry was playing that steel guitar at local honky tonks in and around Carlsbad and San Angelo, Texas, with his brother-in-law, Tommy Briggs' Hillbilly band which also featured Sherman Hamblin on fiddle and Earnest Smith lead guitar and vocals.
In 1953, at the age of 14, Jerry Naylor began working at a new radio station in San Angelo, Texas called KPEP. Veteran broadcaster, Joe Treadway, who with his wife Matilda (Tillie) would become Jerry's foster parents when Naylor's mother died in 1955, hired Naylor and taught him to be a disc jockey, radio commercial salesman and radio maintenance engineer. Joe Treadway encouraged Naylor to continue his performing, but on the insistence of Jerry's mother, gave him the opportunity to be the lead singer of the band. KPEP was co-owned by Joe Treadway and Dave Stone (Pinkstone) who also owned the, now legendary, KDAV radio station in Lubbock, Texas where Buddy Holly was also an on-air performer with Bob Montgomery, "Buddy & Bob".
These two West Texas radio stations were the first full-time country music radio stations in America and promoted live touring shows throughout West Texas with stars from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Joe Treadway and his close friend, Tillman Franks, Talent Coordinator for the Louisiana Hayride, managed Naylor's young singing career and booked Jerry and his band on these touring shows. It was here at KPEP that Naylor first heard rockabilly music, at its very beginning. After hearing and playing Elvis Presley's "That's Alright Mama" Sun Records recording, Naylor helped to form and became the lead singer of the rockabilly band The Cavaliers.
Career with The Crickets
In 1960, Jerry Naylor became the lead singer for the Crickets. This was after the tragic death of Buddy Holly, and Jerry Ivan Allison, co-founder of the Crickets with Buddy Holly, offered Naylor the lead singer position with the Crickets because they had just signed a new recording contract with Liberty Records, Hollywood, California. Jerry recorded as lead singer with the Crickets for five years at Liberty Records, globally known as "The Crickets, The Liberty Years" for the multiple global hits the group had during this time. It all started with "Don't Ever Change," a Carol King/ Gerry Goffin written song, which shot to the number 5 position on the UK national charts and many other countries of the world. "Don't Ever Change" by Jerry Naylor and The Post Buddy Holly Crickets highly influenced the Beatles career, by their own admission, and the very first song the new Beatles group performed live on BBC, in 1963, was the Jerry Naylor and The Crickets' hit, "Don't Ever Change." The Post Buddy Holly Crickets had five additional international hit singles and the "Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets Album" was the biggest success globally, ranking tied with Buddy Holly Crickets albums at number 2 for all Crickets global sales. Jerry Naylor and The Crickets also had a number One hit EP recording on EMI/Liberty Records in 1963, featuring two additional hits, "My Little Girl" and "Teardrops Fall Like Rain," which were also featured in the Columbia Motion Pictures Movie, "Just For Fun."
Personal life and family
On January 30, 1966, Naylor married Pamela Ann Robinson. Jerry and Pamela, married over four decades, have three children and six grandchildren.