Buddy Knox

2009 - Matousek Lifetime Achievement Award

Buddy Wayne Knox, born July 20, 1933 in Happy, TX, was the first artist of the rock era to write and perform his own number one hit song, “Party Doll.” The song earned Knox a gold record in 1957 as well as a BMI million performance award. Knox was the very first Texas rockabilly artist to be awarded a gold record and he was one of the innovators of the Southwestern style of rockabilly that became known as “Tex-Mex” music.

While attending West Texas State College, Knox met two other students, Jimmy Bowen and Don Lanier. The trio formed a band called the Rhythm Orchids, named after their orchid colored shirts. They played in local clubs for beer and food, singing songs until they were thrown out for being under age. However, Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids had developed a following. They became the hottest local band around.

Backstage after a show at WTSC with Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings, Knox began talking with the band. Orbison told him about a recording studio in Clovis, NM , where he had recorded some of his earlier songs. A few days later Knox, Bowen and Lanier found themselves at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis . For the $60 they had in their pockets, they spent three days recording three songs that would change their lives forever. They used Petty’s session player, David Alldred, on drums.

From that one session, Buddy received two gold records in 1957; the one for “Party Doll” and one for “I’m Sticking With You”, co-written with Bowen.

Over the next few decades, Buddy Knox had other Top 40 successes. Living on the road almost all of his life, he toured nearly eleven months out of each year and appeared in several movies. He traveled in his Winnebago, made here in Iowa, and appeared in Iowa extensively throughout his career. He was always admired for his kindness and desire to help someone out. Knox was known as one of the “nice guys of rock and roll”.

Booking Knox into many venues in Iowa and Nebraska , Dick Matousek of C & M Enterprises said, “I always looked forward to working with Buddy. He was one of the nicest guys in the business. He was never demanding and never acted like the big star he really was.”

Buddy Knox passed away on Feb. 14, 1999. He left behind five children: Wendy, Michael, Jesse, Ginger and Buddy Jr. For his lifetime of bringing joy and music to countless thousands of people, many of who resided in Iowa , Buddy joins the Hall of Fame Class of 2009, receiving the IRRMA Dan Matousek Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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