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About Gene La Marr

Rockabilly cat Gene Lamarr remains best known among vintage rock & roll connoisseurs for his 1958 cult classic "That Crazy Little House on the Hill." Born Eugene Lamarr Syrios in Georgia on February 7, 1942, he spent virtually his entire childhood in the San Diego area. Given his first guitar as a young boy, he later learned to play with the aid of a boarder who swapped lessons for lodging. By the age of 12 Lamarr was playing in local honky tonks as a member of Joel Hill & the Strangers before embracing rockabilly two years later. At just 16, he and his band the Blue Flames signed to the local indie Spry to cut his debut single, "That Crazy Little House on the Hill," penned by Gaynel Hodge of "Earth Angel" fame. The record was a local hit, and in mid-1958 Lamarr issued a follow-up, "You Can Count on Me." After one final Spry effort, 1959's "Moon Eyes," he founded his own Flame label to issue "Hammerhead," an instrumental spotlighting his ferocious guitar work. "Just a Stranger" soon followed, but despite a rabid local fan base Lamarr's records failed to generate much attention outside of the Southern California market, and after one last single, the 1961 Cenco label effort "Baby What Would You Do," his recording career ground to a halt. Despite headlining the occasional country gig, Lamarr largely abandoned music in favor of raising a family, working for a quarter century with defense industry contractor General Dynamics before retiring in 1991. In the autumn of his life he assembled a home recording studio and began working on new material. An album was nearing completion at the time of Lamarr's death from heart failure on April 8, 2007. ~ Jason Ankeny