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Hank Mizell

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Hank Mizell (November 9, 1923 – December 23, 1992) was an American singer, guitarist and songwriter. He is best-remembered for his rockabilly single “Jungle Rock” (1958), which was obscure on its original release but reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1976.

Born William M. Mizell in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States, Mizell moved to Asheville, North Carolina with his adoptive parents. He joined the United States Navy and served in the Second World War. After being discharged, he decided to take up singing professionally, with a band featuring guitarist Jim Bobo. Settling in Montgomery, Alabama, Mizell sang on local radio, where one of the presenters nicknamed him ‘Hank’, after the country singer Hank Williams. Mizell recorded “Jungle Rock” in 1958 for Eko Records; the seemingly whimsical lyric tells of a narrator who happens upon a dance party in a jungle, with “a jungle drummer doing a knocked-out beat.” The song did not chart but earned a positive review from Billboard, which suggested the song “would make good swingin’ dance fare”. “Jungle Rock” was reissued by King Records in 1959, but again failed to find success. He recorded a handful of additional singles, none of which was successful.
Mizell and Bobo continued playing live until 1962, when they split up. By this time, Mizell was married to Rosemary, with four children (including David Alan, John Mark and William Jr.), and he finally gave up music and became a preacher for the Church of Christ.

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