Jimmie Rodgers (born September 18, 1933 in Camas, Washington) is sometimes classed as a rock and roll singer, but his style was more typical of traditional pop music. He was not related to the famous country singer Jimmie Rodgers.
He was taught music by his mother, learned to play the piano and guitar, and formed a band while he served in the United States Air Force. Like a number of other entertainers of the era, he was one of the contestants on Arthur Godfrey's talent show on the radio. When Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore left RCA Records to found a new record company, Roulette Records, they became aware of Jimmie's talent and signed him up.
In the summer of 1957, he recorded a song called "Honeycomb" which had been done by Bob Merrill three years earlier. It was his first big hit, reaching the top of the charts for four weeks. The following year, he had a number of other hits that reached the top ten on the charts: "Kisses Sweeter than Wine", "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again", "Secretly", and "Are You Really Mine". Other hits include "Bimbombey", "Ring-a-ling-a-lario", "Tucumcari," and "Tender Love and Care (T.L.C)". In 1959 he had a televised variety show on the NBC network.
In 1962 he moved to the Dot label, and four years later to A&M Records. He also appeared in some movies, including The Little Shepard of Kingdom Come, opposite Neil Hamilton.
In 1967 he had his last top-100 single, "Child of Clay". On December 20, 1967, while preparing to do a film for 20th Century Fox, he was a victim of an assault after being pulled over by an off-duty LAPD officer on the San Diego Freeway in Southern California, receiving a severe beating leading to a fractured skull. Neither the assailant(s) nor the reason for the assault has ever been verifiably established. Not long after the assault, he appeared on a late-night talk show and talked about it, but all he could recall were bright lights, presumably from the car of his attacker(s). Rodgers later claimed that members of the San diego police department had assaulted him. After Rodgers sued the police department, the LAPD settled out of court for 200,000, a large sum of money at the time.
Recovery from his injuries caused an approximately year-long period when he ceased to perform, but he eventually returned, though not reaching the top singles chart again. He did, however, make an appearance on the album chart as late as 1969. Also, during that summer, he made a brief return to network television with a summer variety show on ABC.
His first wife, Colleen, with whom he had two children, Michelle and Michael, had a fatal blood clot, claiming her life shortly after the 1967 beating. He remarried in 1970 to a woman named Trudy and had two sons, Casey and Logan. He and Trudy divorced in the late 70's, and he remarried again. Jimmie and Mary Rodgers are still married today, and they have a daughter, Katrine, who was born in 1989.