Tommy Facenda

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Tommy Facenda
Also known as Bubba Facenda
Born (1939-11-10) November 10, 1939 (age 74)
Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
Genres Rock and roll
Occupations Singer, guitarist
Labels Nasco Records
Atlantic Records

Tommy "Bubba" Facenda (born November 10, 1939) is an American rock and roll singer and guitarist. He is best known for his one-hit wonder single, "High School U.S.A."

Career[edit]

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Facenda was asked to join Gene Vincent's Blue Caps in 1957, where he was given the nickname "Bubba".[1] Facenda and Paul Peek became known as "The Clapper Boys" of Vincent's band, because of their trademark handclap style during live shows. Facenda toured with Vincent and appeared in films with him, but by 1958 had left Vincent to seek a solo career. He signed with Nasco Records and released his first single, "Little Baby" b/w "You Are My Everything".

The single received no attention, and Facenda headed to New York City, where he met Frank Guida, the head of Legrand Records. Guida asked him to record a novelty song entitled "High School U.S.A.", using names of high schools in his home state of Virginia. Atlantic Records picked up the song for national distribution and had him record 28 different versions of the tune, using regional high school names from various parts of the United States.[2] The song became a nationwide hit, reaching #30 on the Black Singles Chart and #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959.[3] All 28 regional versions were combined into one chart listing. The national version was not in the combined list.

He recorded a follow-up single, the self-penned "Bubba Ditty", which was released in 1960; after this he served in the military through 1962 and then returned to Portsmouth, where he worked as a firefighter for the Portsmouth Fire Department. He toured again with the Blue Caps beginning in 1982, including in Europe. Facenda also later did some stage acting, performing in a play entitled Just Us.

In 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Facenda as a member of the Blue Caps by a special committee, aiming to correct the previous wrong of not including the Blue Caps with Gene Vincent.[1]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Little Baby" / "You're My Everything" - Nasco 6018 - 1958
  • "High School U.S.A." (National version) / "Give Me Another Chance" - Legrand 1001 - 1959
  • "High School U.S.A." (Regional versions, see below) / "Plea Of Love" - Atlantic 51-78 - 1959
  • "Bubba Ditty" / "I Don't Know" - Atlantic 2057 - 1960
  • "High School U.S.A." (National version) / "High School U.S.A." (Los Angeles Version) - Legrand 1001 (reissue)

Regional Atlantic Records releases of "High School U.S.A.[edit]

  • Virginia—45-51
  • New York City—45-52
  • North & South Carolina—45-53
  • Washington D.C. / Baltimore—45-54
  • Philadelphia—45-55
  • Detroit—45-56
  • Pittsburgh—45-57
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul—45-58
  • Florida—45-59
  • Newark, New Jersey—45-60
  • Boston—45-61
  • Cleveland—45-62
  • Buffalo—45-63
  • Hartford, Connecticut—45-64
  • Nashville—45-65
  • Indianapolis—45-66
  • Chicago—45-67
  • New Orleans—45-68
  • St. Louis & Kansas City—45-69
  • Georgia & Alabama—45-70
  • Cincinnati—45-71
  • Memphis—45-72
  • Los Angeles—45-73
  • San Francisco—45-74
  • Texas—45-75
  • Seattle, WA & Portland, OR—45-76
  • Denver—45-77
  • Oklahoma—45-78

References[edit]