Monday, May 13, 2013

Bobby Fuller Four--I Fought the Law (1966)

     Bobby Fuller was born in Baytown, Texas then as a small child moved to Salt Lake City. Shortly after his move at the age of 12 to El Paso, his life changed forever like many others who heard Elvis Presley. More importantly, he was influenced greatly by fellow Texan Buddy Holly and attempted several independent recordings with local musicians including his brother Randy, who would be the only constant throughout his Fuller's life.
     He build his own recording studio complete with an echo chamber in the back yard. It was a demo sent to Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records in California that got them signed. Keane didn't hear a song that caught his attention, but thought there was potential there. At this time, they were known as either just Bobby Fuller, or Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics, the change over to the Bobby Fuller Four wasn't until 1965 when they became more established.
     The song "I Fought The Law" is actually a cover from The Crickets. It was written in 1958 by Sonny Curtis who brought the song with him when he replaced Buddy Holly on guitar after his death. It was released as a 'b' side of "A Sweet Love" in 1960. Fuller recorded it first in Texas while working on material for Bob Keane. It was re-recorded in 1965 and released in early 66 on the Mustang label which was an offshoot of Del-Fi, just for the group.
     The song went up to number 6 and it's follow up, "Love's Made A Fool Of You" also reached the top 40. By the summer of that year tensions began to build within the band (who's members were never crazy about Fuller being singled out in the band name anyway). When guitarist James Reese received his draft notice, drummer Dalton Powell decided it was time to go home and be closer to his family.
     The band meeting on July 18th where Reese was going to finalize the sale of his Jaguar XKE to Fuller and Powell was announcing his leaving the band went on without Fuller. It was later that day he was found dead in his car of apparent asphyxiation. There was no foul play or signs of struggle, it was considered a suicide, but the case remains open.


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