Years: May 1963 - 1966; 1969 - 1972
Styles: Beat, Classic Rock, Garage Rock, Mod Rock, Pop Rock
Larry Raspberry - Guitar, Lead vocals (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Pat Neal - Bass Guitar (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Bobby Fisher - Guitar, Keyboards, Saxophone (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Jimmy Johnson - Keyboards, Trumpet (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Larry Wall - Drums (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Bruce Bowles - Vocals (in band: 1963 - 1966)
Jimmy Hart - Vocals (in band: 1963 - 1966; 1969 - 1972)
Jimmy Tarbutton - Guitar (in band: 1969 - 1970)
Steve Speer - Bass Guitar (in band: 1969 - 1970)
David Beaver - Keyboards (in band: 1969 - 1970)
Mike Gardner - Drums (in band: 1969 - 1970)
Wesley Stafford - Lead guitar, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1972)
Alan Heidelberg - Drums (in band: 1971 - 1972)
Bobby Liles - Bass Guitar (in band: 1971 - 1972)
The Gentrys were a rock band from Memphis, Tennessee. The group formed in 1963 and initially called themselves the Gents. The original members were: Bruce Bowles (vocals), Bobby Fisher (keyboards), Jimmy Hart (vocals), Jimmy Johnson (trumpet), Pat Neal (bass), Larry Raspberry (guitar/lead vocals), and Larry Wall (drums).
The youths formed the Gentrys in May 1963 as a rock 'n' roll group for local dances, and were very successful playing for high school dates. In September 1964 they won third place in the Mid-South Fair Talent Competition and auditioned for the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. They soon became the most popular teenage band in the mid-South and in 1964 won the Memphis Battle of the Bands. In December 1964 the group were given a contract by local record label Youngstown Records, and made their first record of "Sometimes", which was very popular locally in early 1965.
After bubbling under the Billboard chart for a week, the Gentrys scored with the million-selling "Keep on Dancing" which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. They toured with The Beach Boys and Sonny and Cher, as well as playing on Dick Clark bills. However, five follow-up singles failed to break into the Top 40, several months after appearing in the 1967 movie "It's a Bikini World", the group disbanded.
Original member Hart reformed The Gentrys in 1969, with himself as lead singer; they recorded initially for the Bell Records label. The 1969–1971 Gentrys included Hart, Steve Spear (bass), David Beaver (keyboards), Jimmy Tarbutton (guitar), and Mike Gardner (drums). In 1970 they recorded an album on Sam Phillips's Sun label and put two singles into the Billboard Hot 100: "Why Should I Cry" (which peaked at No. 61 on 7 March 1970) and "Cinnamon Girl", charting before Neil Young's version and peaking at No. 52 on June 13, 1970.
The 1971 through 1972 line-up of The Gentrys included Hart on vocals, along with Wesley Stafford on lead guitar and vocals, Alan Heidelberg (drums) and Bobby Liles (bass). Marty Lacker (a member of Elvis Presley's "Memphis Mafia") helped to land this version of The Gentrys arecording contract with Capitol Records. It produced a single written by Hart and Stafford entitled "Let Me Put This Ring Upon Your Finger." Knox Phillips was the record producer for all recording endeavors of this period.
Hart went on to become a highly colorful professional wrestling manager. Moreover, fellow original band member Raspberry went on to play with Alamo, who released a self-titled LP in 1971, and subsequently formed Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers, releasing two albums in the mid-1970s.
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