Rock Combos of  Nashville


The Crescendos Do-Wop Group With Noel Ball

The Crescendos were a Cumberland High School group that won a talent contest about 1955. As a prize they were given a recording date with a record company. The result was a 1957 release of a tune titled "Oh Julie" which was a large regional hit. Noel Ball pushed the tune hard on his DJ shows and they actually made it to American Bandstand later that year. Like the Casuals they made quite a few appearances at local and regional rock-in-roll shows. On the release of "O Julie" there was a prominent backup part that was filled by a girl named Janice Green. On the strength of that record she crafted a string of personal appearances and some recordings. She was billed as Janice Green; The O Julie Girl.

Submitted by Jim Lawrence
more on the Crescendos


Oh Julie by the Crescendos
Written by Kenneth R. Moffitt and Noel Ball
Peaked at # 5 in 1958
Oh, Julie
ah, ah, ah
Oh, Julie
ah, ah, ah

Oh-uh-oh-uh-oh Julie
You'll never know how I love yo-ou-ou
Oh-uh-oh-uh-oh Julie
A teenage dream that can't come true

I see-ee you Julie
Each day as you walk by-y-y
But maybe some day, Julie
I'll be the apple of your eye

Although you're older than me, it makes no difference, you see
As you are my shining sta-ar
You've heard of passion for love and jealousy, my dove
Well, that's the way I feel about you

I nee-eed you, Julie
You'll never know how my heart yea-ea-earns
Oh, please, please help me
My love just burns and burns

But some day, Julie
When I'm as old as yo-ou-ou
I'll take you, Julie
And make my dreams come true

But some day, Julie
When I'm as old as yo-ou-ou
I'll take you, Julie
And make my dreams come true


Nashville's first Rock n Roll Band 1956
1958 Lineup:
Saxophonist Joe Watkins
Vocalist Buzz Cason
Accordionist and Pianist Chester Powers
Drummer Bill Smith
Vocalist and Pianist Richard Williams
Guitarist Johnny McCreery


By 1959, The Casuals had become the Casual Teens and toured as Brenda Lee's backup band and recorded for Dot Records. The picture to the left is of the band in 1960. Band members included:

Left to right
Snuffy Smith, Double Neck Bass
Billy Smith, Drummer
Buzz Cason, (Gary Miles) Vocals
Richard Williams, Keyboard & Vocals
Wayne Moss, Guitar
Joe Watkins, Tenor Sax
The pictures below were taken in July 1960.



first got together in September of 1957 playing dances at what was then the Madison Fire Hall. John Sturdivant on baritone sax, John Richards on Tenor sax, Ernie Winfrey on drums, and Donny Green on guitar.  We picked up Willo Collins on guitar and Hershel Hopper on electric bass, piano and drums. Hershel was a versatile guy. The five of them played University of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, U.T. and Vanderbilt frats as well as other college and high school frats and sororities throughout the south on a weekly basis for the busiest part of four years.


The Monarchs opened shows for Johnny Cash (before he was country) Brenda Lee and Al Green. Hargis (Pig) Robins played piano on a lot of local gigs but could not travel with them due to the session obligations he had at the time. In between jobs they played sessions for Revis Studios on lower Second Avenue.

Submitted by Donny Green


The original members  were:
 Pete Townes, bass,
 Wayne Stagg, lead guitar
 Billy Edwards, drums
 Jerry Tuttle, tenor sax
 Ed Hoge, rhythm guitar. 
 Most of their repertoire was '50's and early '60's rock and pop, doo-wop, rhythm and blues, Memphis soul, and Motown. 

The Gators played a lot in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, usually for high school and college frat and sorority "combo parties" for about 3 years. Did a lot of gigs in Memphis along with Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama, also. In 1962-63 they played at the Black Poodle Lounge in Nashville in Printer's Alley during the "Peppermint Twist" craze. 

The Gators released one 45 single on Dot Records, "Sunburst," an instrumental which enjoyed limited success. 

Submitted by Ed Hoge


In the early 60's the Gators released an album on Bulletin Records.  At that time the group was composed of Dan Folger (piano & bass); Paul Jenson (guitar); Quitman Dennis (sax, flute, bass) and Steve Bess (drum).  Album notes were by Neal Matthews of the Jordanaires.  Cuts include: "My Babe", "Yakety Sax", "Last Letter", "Sidetrack", "Over the Mountain", "Can't Help Myself", "I Keep Forgetting", "Last Date", "Down In The Boon Docks", and "Shotgun". 

During this period the group was playing the Black Poodle and Jolly Roger in Printers Alley. At the Black Poodle they were held over for fourteen consecutive months.
Submitted by William P. Davis



Chuck Neese, rhythm guitar and vocals
Mac Gayden, guitar and vocals
Roy Hepburn, drums
Quitman Dennis, sax
Joe Gleaves, electric bass.
The Sliders were one of the area's favorite combos in the 50's & early 60's.  They played R&B and were in great demand at Vandy Frat parties, High School Proms and local clubs.
Submitted by Joe Gleaves



The Sliders playing at the Varsity Club at 15th and Broad in Nashville

The Sliders played as a front band for R&B artists
Pictured above is Carla Thomas at Cascade Plunge
at a " Hugh Baby Hop"



Chris Kelley, Drums
Boots Smith, Guitar
Bass, Joe Gleaves
Frank Hoover, Sax
Terrance Cooksey, Singer



They played Nashville Clubs from the 50's thru early 60's
Skipper Hunt,  far left with the guitar.  He was the lead guitar and lead vocals.

Roy Hepburn, Drums -  Bill Akins, Piano - Joe Gleaves, Bass - Gayle Whitfield, Sax

On to the Sixties

On to the Seventies
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Nashville Memories