Bill Peck

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About Bill Peck

Bill Peck is an example of one of those admirable survivors in popular music. As a drummer he worked with people as diverse as big-band leader Freddie Rich and western swing legend Bob Wills, and as a singer he cut both pop and rock 'n roll. He was good enough to cut a niche for himself and make a living as a performer, but never able to break through on records, for a shot at real stardom-but versatile enough to get chances at stardom from the 1930's thru the middle 1950's. Peck was a drummer who also sang in the 1930's pop-crooner style of Bing Crosby. During the '30s, he played with Freddie Rich's band, and Texas was not on his list of places he intended to live in-the army draft and World War II changed that, and while stationed there, he married and started a family in Dallas, before taking off for Hollywood to try his luck there. He had none and was back in Dallas, playing and singing in a band led by Denny Beckner, and appearing as a drummer on records for labels like Bullet and Dude. By 1950, he'd established himself as a singer sufficiently to give up touring, and gave up Beckner's outfit for a gig singing at a Dallas hotel, the Adolphus, with Herman Wahlman's Orchestra. It was there that he was scouted by Jimmy Richards, who had just founded a new label, Rich-Tone-it was Richards that sent Peck out to Hollywood to cut sides with Ted Fio Rito and others. Rich-Tone folded after Richards' death, and Peck found himself back in Dallas playing lots of sessions and temporary gigs-that was how he crossed paths briefly (for about four days) with Bob Wills in the Bob Wills Ranch House, playing drums in the band. His main affiliation was with the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, where he played often and was spotted by Joe Leonard. It was Leonard's intention to begin a pop music line for his Gainseville, Texas-based Lin label, and Bill Peck seemed to fit the bill of what he needed. Possibly much more important to Leonard, according to historian Kevin Coffey, however, was a song that Peck had co-authored, "Ballin' And Squallin' (Over You), " that he wanted for his new country-cum-rockabilly star, Buck Griffin. Peck cut four songs for Lin Records, of which only "And So It Goes" and "Do You Know, " were issued at the time. "Do You Know" was nearly a rock 'n roll number, with hot solos by guitarist Paul Buskirk and saxman Freddie Scott, and Peck tried cutting songs in a purer rocking style during the mid-1950's, without success. Peck left the music business during the 1960's. Since then, he has been a successful businessman, with his own video and film recording studio in Dallas, which is still in business in the late 1990's. ~ Bruce Eder

United States of America
April 1, 1979
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