Admittedly, Tommy Roe is not the best known rock & roller of the 1960’s, but he has a claim to fame that is immensely important and also highly unique in that the Beatles once opened for him. It is hard for us to remember this, but Tommy Roe, an American rocker who found equal success in the UK as in the US as a singles artist, was able to do headlining tours in the United States and UK during the early to mid 1960’s in support of songs that he had written when he was a teen and young adult. And if his music might seem a bit bubble gum pop at this point, it was certainly rock & roll at the time and also has managed to endure to the present day, where Tommy Roe’s music has been frequently sampled and covered to great success even if he is a somewhat obscure artist whose albums are not well known. His Beatles connection as well as his songwriting (including some country hits late in his career) mark a strong case for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as he was able to provide some help to the Beatles in encouraging them as they transitioned form a cover band seasoned through the club scene in Germany to smash success in the UK and then in the US. That sort of help deserves to be recognized.
The Influence Of Tommy Roe
Although he is best known as a bubble gum pop artist today, Tommy Roe has been celebrated as an artist in other genres as well. Besides being a major contributor to the rise of Beetlemania in the UK, Tommy Roe has been inducted by the Georgia Music Hall of Fame as well as the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. And if some of his music was apparently destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire, he did perform his hit songs (and he had several of them) with other artists as a legacy act long after he had stopped having hits on his own. He was also an artist with a diverse set of interests, including acting in an episode of Green Acres and marrying a Golden Globe-winning actress . Before becoming big, the Beatles themselves covered Sheila, demonstrating his influence on their own musical style. MC Lyte has also sampled “Sweet Pea” in his own song “Lyte As A Rock.” All of this demonstrates Roe’s continuing influence on the world of music and culture.
Why Tommy Roe Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
We have already discussed Tommy Roe’s influence on the Beatles and others as well as his role in Bubble Gum, rock, and country music, which has been honored by several halls of fame. He did end up with six top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with two #1 hits (Sheila and Dizzy), as well as the #3 hit “Everybody,” the #6 hit “Hooray For Hazel,” and the #8 hits “Sweet Pea” and “Jam Up And Jelly Tight.” In addition to being popular in the United States, he also had hits in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany, and has four gold singles so far. Even after he stopped having hits on the pop charts he was able to continue charting on the country charts with some success for a few years . This sort of success has been enough for other people to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame from the 1960’s and the Beatles angle as well as his own body of work are certainly well worth appreciating.
Why Tommy Roe Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
It seems pretty likely that Tommy Roe hasn’t been inducted because there hasn’t been a big push to recognize him among the forgotten acts of his decade. Given the fact that he headlined on a tour with the Beatles, had half a dozen big US hits including 2 #1 hits, and had songs covered by others besides his role in helping to develop the American rock and Bubble Gum pop response to the British invasion, this is a solid record that deserves recognition.
Verdict: Put him in.