Gene Summers (born January 3, 1939 in Dallas, Texas) is an American rock/rockabilly singer and entertainer.
Gene Summers was an only child, born in 1939 in Dallas, but he went to school in Duncanville, Texas. Having mastered the guitar in Arlington State College during his high school days, he formed his own band in 1957, the Rebels (Gene Summers, Jerry Mann, Benny Williams and James McClung). After performing on Joe Bill's Country Picnic on KRLD-TV in Dallas, they were discovered by Jed Tarver, a local songwriter, who wrote under his wife's name, Mary Tarver, and who would go on to write many of Gene's best recordings.
Tarver introduced the group to Dallas oilman Tom Fleeger, who had just started a new record label, which he had called Jan Records, after his mother. Fleeger signed the Rebels in late 1957 and supervised their 1958 Jan recordings, which still stand out as Gene's best work. His debut record, credited to Gene Summers and his Rebels, was released on February 1, 1958, and coupled "School Of Rock 'n' Roll" (written by group member James McClung) with Tarver's "Straight Skirt".
Tom Fleeger was used to being successful and thought he could build Jan into a major label. He set up an office in Hollywood and decided to record there, to get that hit sound. The first session was done at Master Recorders, soon followed by a second session at the Liberty studio. That session produced "Nervous", "Twixteen" and "Gotta Lotta That", recorded with top L. A. session men However, the second and third Jan single (Nervous / Gotta Lotta That and Twixteen / I'll Never Be Lonely) sold no better than "School Of Rock 'n' Roll", good as they were, and Tom Fleeger soon lost interest.
In the spring of 1961, Summers left the Rebels in order to bolster the membership of another band that had been known up until then as Tommy & the Tom Toms. Tommy -- as in Tommy Brown -- had decided to leave Texas for Florida In the meantime, Summers had already made two records of his own for the regional Jan label and was an excellent choice as replacement front man for what then logically became Gene Summers & the Tom Toms.
Summers kept the band active through the fist half of the '60s. Gene's subsequent recordings would be made in Texas, usually Dallas or Fort Worth, for a host of local labels. Some of his classic recordings include "Big Blue Diamond", which was picked up for national distribution by Jamie Records in 1964, but did not chart nationally.
In the 1970's Gene was a nightclub owner/entertainer and then went on to headline tours in England, France, Sweden, Holland, Finland in 1980-81. He was featured as the headliner of the 1981 1st Scandanavian Rock & Roll Meeting. Also in 1981 Gene co-headlined the 1st International Rockabilly Festival/ France. That same year he appeared on the National French Television Program "Le Grande Echiqier" with Jacques Dutronc that drew a viewing audience of 20 million. He would return to Europe many times, recording a live LP in Sweden in the process (1983). Two heart attacks in 1991 forced him to slow down, but he made a come- back and is still performing today.
In 1997, Summers was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and had a collection of his recordings reissued on the Crystal Clear Sound imprint. Do Right Daddy, a new studio album for the Eviken label in 2004, was the appropriate move for a historic Dallas rocker standing on the threshold of a half a century in the music business. Summers was inducted into the The Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 2008 he recorded and released a new CD, "Reminisce Cafe" on the Silicon label, his first US studio recording since 1980.
He still performs worldwide and celebrated his 50th anniversary as a recording artist in 2008 with the release of Reminisce Cafe. (Info various including Wikipedia, AMG and Black Cat Rockabilly)