Don Woody

Top Songs & Albums Don Woody

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... read moreIt’s not that Don Woody was a reluctant rock star. He was fine with it, actually, but it just wasn’t anything he’d exactly planned on being. Born June 29, 1937 in the small town of Tuscumbia, MO, Woody had started a career as a radio DJ while still in high school and had his own standup comedy...

Key songs

Bird-Dog
Don Woody
2:25
You're Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Don Woody
2:21
Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Don Woody
2:19
Make Like A Rock And Roll
Don Woody
2:16
Morse Code
Don Woody
2:28

Biography

Active: 1950s
Country Of origin: United States of America

It’s not that Don Woody was a reluctant rock star. He was fine with it, actually, but it just wasn’t anything he’d exactly planned on being. Born June 29, 1937 in the small town of Tuscumbia, MO, Woody had started a career as a radio DJ while still in high school and had his own standup comedy routine that he took around to local clubs, and while he had a passion for drums (and played them quite well), music was just one of many hats he had the choice of wearing on any given day. Woody attended Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield after graduating from high school, concurrently nailing down a job as a DJ at a Top 40 rock & roll station, and continued to work his comedy act. He somehow found time to write a dozen or so songs with his roommate, Paul Simmons, and the pair made demos of them. One of Woody's standup routines landed him a regular spot working as a warm-up act on the Ozark Jubilee show hosted by Red Foley, and there he met his manager, Gary Walker. Walker hustled the demo tapes to Decca Records, and one of the songs, “Bigelow 6-200,” became Brenda Lee's debut single in 1956. Suddenly Woody found himself in a recording studio for Decca (with Owen Bradley producing, no less), where he cut the soon to be immortal “You’re Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and three other tracks from the small Woody-Simmons catalog. Just like that, Woody was a rockabilly performer. Unfortunately, “You’re Barking Up the Wrong Tree” didn’t have a lot of success as a single, and Decca pulled the rug. Woody recorded a couple more tracks two years later in 1958 for Arco Records, but nothing came of those, either, and Woody's working rockabilly days appeared over. He took a job with the Sears Company, eventually working his way up to a regional vice-president position before he retired in 1991. That would be the story, except serious rockabilly fans and record collectors never forgot “You’re Barking Up the Wrong Tree,” and Woody caught an improbable second act as a rockabilly singer on the nostalgia circuit, much to his own amusement and amazement. Bear Family Records issued Woody's entire recorded legacy, a total of 11 tracks, on the single-disc You’re Barking Up the Wrong Tree in 2010. ~ Steve Leggett~ Rovi

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