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Sunday, August 28, 2011


Robert Lee "Chan" Romero was born July 7, 1941 in Billings, Montana.
Romero's heritage was rather mixed. His father was of Spanish and Apache stock while his mother was a mix of Mexican, Cherokee and Irish. Both had migrated to Montana during the Great Depression, seeking employment as migrant farm workers. His nickname was bestowed on him by his grandfather. Since Romero often ran around without footwear, the nickname, from a Spanish phrase meaning "little boy with pig's feet" seemed appropriate.
  Chan's earliest influence was Elvis Presley when he saw Elvis on the Steve Allen show in 1955. He was also influenced by rockers Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry. The came Ritchie Valens.
The teenaged Chan Romero hitchhiked to East Los Angeles, California in 1958. He heard Ritchie Valens' "Come On Let's Go" on the radio and was inspired to write "Hippy Hippy Shake" and thus launched his career. An uncle introduced Romero and his music to an A&R representative from Specialty records, Sonny Bono. Bono was particularly taken with a song called "My Little Ruby" and asked Romero to polish the song and to return in a few weeks. Romero needed to return to school in Montana and never returned to Specialty.
  Upon forming a band on his return, it soon became clear that Valens had a tremendous impact on Romero, so much so that the two artists, who never met, sounded alike and shared much the same ethnic heritage. Two months after the plane crash that claimed Valens' life, Montana DJ & manager Don Redfield sent a tape to Valens' manager, Bob Keane, in Los Angeles. Keane was greatly impressed with the recordings and hailed Romero as a successor to Valens, immediately signing him to a contract on Del-Fi records, the same label as Valens. In June of 1959, Chan entered Gold Star Studios in Hollywood and recorded with the same band that backed up Ritchie.
  Keane introduced him to Valens' grieving mother with whom Romero became close. Her home served as Romero's home during his visits to Los Angeles; he slept in Valens' bedroom.
  Del-Fi would release "Hippy Hippy Shake" and "If I Had My Way" in July, 1959. It became a hit in the US, Australia and the UK. The Swining Blue Jeans would have a top 20 US hit with it in 1964. It even became part of the Beatles set in their Hamburg days.

You May Listen To Chan Romero "Hippy Hippy Shake" and "If I Had A Way" Here:

The follow-up record was "My Little Ruby" and "I Don't Care" (Del-Fi 4126) recorded in September 1959, again a rocker with a ballad on the flip.

You May Listen To Chan Romero "My Little Ruby" Here:

You May Listen To Chan Romero "I Don't Care Here"

This later "odd-ball" 1965 Romero release "It's Not Fair" is listed as being in the Northern soul genre.

If you are looking for Chan Romero's music, this is the CD to buy. Released on Del-Fi in 1995.

Track List:

01. My Little Ruby
02. I Don't Care
03. Hippy Hippy Shake (Studio)
04. I Want Some More
05. If I Had A Way
06. Memories Of You
07. Your Love
08. It's Not Fair
09. Rockhouse
10. My Angel
11. Hippy Hippy Shake (Demo)
12. Baby Doll
13. Boppin' & Hoppin'
14. La Bamba
15. Playboy
Chan Romero was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame on May 15,2007 and is currently living in Pa;m Springs, California.


Soley for historical, educational & listening pleasure.

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