Randy Sparks

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Randy Sparks
Sparks in 1964
Sparks in 1964
Background information
Birth nameLloyd A. Sparks[1]
Born (1933-07-29) July 29, 1933 (age 89)
Leavenworth, Kansas, United States
GenresFolk
Occupation(s)Musician
Instrument(s)Guitar, Banjo
Years active1958–present
LabelsVerve, Columbia
Websitewww.thenewchristyminstrels.com

Randy Sparks (born July 29, 1933, Leavenworth, Kansas) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and founder of The New Christy Minstrels and The Back Porch Majority.

Biography[edit]

Sparks grew up in Oakland, California, and attended the University of California at Berkeley. His first musical engagement was at the Purple Onion in San Francisco.[2] In the late 1950s, during his solo career, he released two albums on the Verve label, a self-titled album in 1958 and Walking the Low Road in 1959. The single "Walkin' The Low Road" reached the Cashbox magazine Top 60.

In 1960, he formed a trio called "The Randy Sparks Three", and they released an album of the same name. He composed "Today";[3] this was a hit for the New Christy Minstrels from their 1964 album of the same title for Columbia Records (CL 2159/CS 8959). He co-composed Green, Green with Barry McGuire for the 1963 album Ramblin (CL 2055/CS 8855).[4] Sparks starred in the 1960 film drama The Big Night.

Sparks also wrote "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio", which was recorded and made famous by John Denver.

Sparks also composed the musical score for the 1964 movie Advance to the Rear, a Civil War spoof. The love song "Today" ("while the blossoms still cling to the vine") was part of that score.

Sparks sang the theme song over the opening credits of the 1958 film Thunder Road. In an email to DJ Allyn in 2009, he explained that Robert Mitchum had asked him to play the kid brother in the movie and to compose a theme song for it. But in the theatrical release, Sparks sang a different theme song co-written by Mitchum.[5]

In 2009, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him and The New Christy Minstrels.[6]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Jackie Miller from 1958 to 1962. Following their divorce, he was married to actress Diane Jergens from 1962 until her death in 2018. The couple had four children, Kevin Ray (b. 1963), twins Cameron Michael and Melinda Anne (b. 1966), and Amanda Hamilton (b. 1970).

References[edit]

  1. ^ BMI.com Accessed 2011-04-12.
  2. ^ The New Christy Minstrels in Person, Columbia CL 1941, liner notes.
  3. ^ allmusic.com Accessed 2011-04-12.
  4. ^ allmusic.com Accessed 2011-04-12.
  5. ^ "DJ Allyn The Soundtrack of My Life". Archived from the original on 2012-11-11. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  6. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated Archived 2012-10-13 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]