The Teen Beats
2006 - Band
Members: Ken Wood, Jeff Payant, Tom Meyer, George J T Normann Jr., John Hartin
Let’s turn back the calendar to the early 1960’s and take a look at the advertising for the Midwest’s prominent ballrooms. We find the Teen Beats name is everywhere. Even though band members were in their young teens, they were already among the most traveled and widely known bands throughout Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and other Midwestern states.
The Teen Beats weren’t officially a band until 1960. In the latter part of 1959 they got together and took part in the first KMNS Radio Rhythm Festival in Sioux City. A photo from that show now hangs in the IRRMA museum. It shows the Teen Beats as a seven piece band as that is the way they appeared on that show. Four of those seven soon moved on to college, the military service, etc. Three of them: Ken Wood, Tom Meyer and George Normann, kept the group going and were soon joined by Jeff Payant. The band rose to its Midwest prominence with these four young men. As an opening made one more change necessary, they were later fortunate to bring John Hartin into the Teen Beats.
As an indication of how good the various members of the Teen Beats were, it is noted that John Hartin is a member of the Nebraska Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. George Normann was an IRRMA Hall of Fame inductee with the Flames in 2003 and an early member of the band, Steve Gunlock, was inducted with the Fabulous Morticians in 2002.
Hall of Fame Induction Spectacular 2006 will be quite a reunion time for the band since they have not seen each other in many years. Attending to accept the honor will be Ken Wood of Sioux City, Jeff Payant from South Dakota, Tom Meyer from Pennsylvania and John Hartin from Texas.
In honoring the Teen Beats, IRRMA continues its stated purpose of honoring the true pioneers of Iowa rock and roll. The Teen Beats and other Iowa music pioneers took ballrooms and nightclubs from the Big Band Era to the days of rock and roll in the 50’s and 60’s. They paved the way for the many rock bands that followed.
Congratulations to the Teen Beats as they are inducted as part of the best that Iowa had to offer to the rock and roll world.