2008 - Individual Artist
Marvin Ross was born near Macksburg, IA in 1936 and started playing guitar when his uncle gave him a Stella at the age of 9. “I had to use a vice-grip to hold the strings down because they were so far from the frets. I converted it to a steel guitar and played it like that until I could afford a standard guitar which I purchased from Sears & Roebuck,” he explained. Playing mostly square dances and such Marvin’s first television appearance came at the age of 15 when he was featured on WOI-TV in Ames on a program called The Noontime Whistle. Later on Marvin joined the Iowa Rhythm Ramblers and they appeared regularly on KSIB in Creston.
When Marvin graduated from high school in 1954 he headed to Des Moines to work for Look Magazine and also to see if he could find a group to play with. Marvin helped form the group called Robbie & the Rock-Its with Ralph Robbins and Gary Audsley. They were some of the early rock and roll musicians in the Des Moines area. The band cut its first record. Today that 45 is a collector’s item and currently available on 6 different CD’s. In 1955 this group played for many of the KRNT Sock Hops that were going on in Des Moines at KRNT Theater on Saturday afternoons.
In 1957 Marvin moved to Denver and auditioned with Mando & the Chili Peppers as well as Lee Chandler Pickett. He was offered a job with both groups but chose to go with Lee Pickett as he was recording at the time. This group was known as Lee Pickett and the Screamers and they cut a 45 called “Fatty Patty”. They sent a copy to George Jay in Hollywood who was working for Jolt Records at the time. (Jolt Records was owned by Bob Hope and Johnny Mercer) “Fatty Patty” was picked up by the Jolt label and it went to #13 on the Billboard nationwide chart. There was no follow up hit as the group made the decision to go in a different direction.
In 1958 Marvin and the group were signed by 20th Century Fox and began to pre-record music for one of Fabian’s new movies called “Hound Dog Man.” Marvin and the group appeared with Fabian on stage and were listed in the movie as the band called The Hound Dogs. This led to even more appearances with 20th Century Fox for other Fabian movie openings. The group kept busy with their 20th Century contract and also various appearances and gigs including television personalities like Loren Greene, Doc Holiday & Kitty, Dick Cantino, Big Tiny Little and Jack Jones.
From the early 60’s to the early 70’s Marvin appeared with many different groups and most of these included his good friend Lee Chandler Pickett. In 1971 Marvin opened a music store in Los Angeles called Mr. Music, sellling musical instruments and giving guitar lessons. He had over 120 students studying guitar with him and at one time two of his students were the oldest Osmond brothers. After almost 10 years Marvin sold the music store and opened an electronics store in the Palm Springs area which he ran until he retired in early 2000.
Marvin has continued to play his guitar in various groups over the last 35 years as that is certainly his first love. He still plays today in jam sessions and does work on CD’s for both himself and other artists. For his pioneer work in the Rock and Roll industry and for over 60 years of playing good ole rock ‘n roll music; we proudly induct Marvin D. Ross into the Iowa RockNRoll Music Association Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2008.