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Tommy Collins
Born:  September 28, 1930
Died:  March 14, 2000
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1999)
KNUZ Houston Home Town Jamboree

Tommy Collins was a native of the Oklahoma City area. While in high school, his brother Bill encouraged him to take up the guitar. Not just interested in music, he was part of the National Honor Society in high school and was chosen as Oklahoma's "Who's Who" representative in 1945. After high school, he attended college for three years and was a chemistry major.

His career started over KLPR in Oklahoma City, OK. He had his own show there for about two years and was on Cousin Jay's "Mountain Jamboree" show there, too. He also appeared on other Oklahoma City stations, including WKY, WKY-TV, KBYE and KOCY.

Tommy had to serve a stint with the Marines. After he got out, he went out to California where he met none other than Ferlin Huskey. He credits Ferlin for helping him out quite a bit, including living at Ferlin's house in Bakersfield. Ferlin also introduced Tommy to Cliffie Stone of Central Songs, Inc. Tommy was signed by Central and later, also by Capitol Records.

Almost as soon as he wrote them, artists started recording his tunes. For instance, Gene O'Quinn recorded his "I'll Stop Loving You" and "I Believe in Lovin' 'Em". Chester Smith waxed "Wishing My Life Away". Ferlin Huskey recorded a handful of his tunes, too including hits such as "Are You Afraid", "I'll Never Have You", "Hank's Song", "Watch The Company You Keep", "How Much Are You Mine", "Undesired". Freddie Hart scored with "Whole Hog or None". Recent Country Music Hall of Famer Faron Young recorded his "Just Married". And the Carlisles did "I Need A Little Help".

When he joined Capitol, his first tunes released for them were "You Gotta Have A License" that had "There'll Be No Other" on the flip side. Later on, he did "You Better Not Do That" that had "High On A Hilltop" on the B side (a tune that was later recorded for a hit by Merle Haggard).

Along about mid-1954 or so, Tommy was working with Cousin Herb Henson out of Bakersfield, doing radio, television and personal appearances.

Even by 1954, he was quite a prolific songwriter as they mentioned he had already written over 200 songs. Stay tuned as you know we'll find out more about him as we go along the trails of hillbilly music history.

Credits & Sources

  • Country Song Roundup No. 32; June 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT.

Sound Sample—(RealAudio Format)
High On A Hilltop

Appearance History This Month
 
April 2, 1968

Rapid City, SD
 
April 3, 1968

Denver, CO
 
April 4, 1968

Billings, MT
 
April 5, 1968

Calgary, AB
 
April 6, 1968

Edmonton, AB

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Recordings
 
Capitol
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  2584 A You Gotta Have A Licence
  2584 B There'll Be No Other
  2701 A You'd Better Not Do That
  2701 B High On A Hilltop
  2806 A Let Me Love You
  2806 B I Always Get A Souvenir
  2891 A You're For Me
  2891 B Watcha Gonna Do Now
  3017 A Untied
  3017 B Boob-I-Lak
  3082 A It Tickles
  3082 B Let Down
  3190 A I Guess I'm Crazy
  3190 B You Oughta See Pickles Now
  3289 A I'll Be Gone
  3289 B I Love You More And More Each Day
  3370 A Wait A Little Longer
  3370 B What Kind Of Sweetheart Are You
  3466 A That's The Way Love Is
  3466 B No Love Have I
  3591 A Wish I'd Died In My Cradle
  3591 B I'll Never, Never Let You Go
  3665 A All Of The Monkey's Ain't In The Zoo
  3665 B Don't You Love Me Anymore
  3789 A A Love Is Born
  3789 B I'm Nobody's Fool But Yours
  4263 A Little June
  4263 B A Hundred Years From Now
  4327 A Wreck Of The Old 97
  4327 B You Belong In My Arms
  4421 A Keep Dreaming
  4421 B Summer's Almost Gone
  4495 A Black Cat
  4495 B My Last Chance With You
  4962 A Take Me Back To The Good Ole Days
  4962 B When Did Right Become Wrong
 
Columbia
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  4-43628 a Shindig In The Barn
  4-43628 b Be Serious, Ann
  43628 A Be Serious, Ann
  43628 B Shindig In the Barn
  43972 A Birmingham
  43972 B Don't Wipe the Tears You Cry For Him (On My Shirt)
 
Madison
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  5073 A Jesse James
  5073 B Richard Eustis: Wild And Reckless Hobo
 
Morgan
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  106 A Campus Boogie
  106 B Too Beautiful To Cry
  109 A Smooth Sailing
  109 B Fool's Gold
 
Starday
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  907 A Cigarette Milner
  907 B Roots Of My Raising
 
Tower
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  215 A To The Good Old Days


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