7 June 1941
1 May 2012 (aged 70)
Born Larry Donn Gillihan, two miles north of Bono, Arkansas on June 7th 1941 on his parent's farm. Raised in Arkansas cotton picking country, Larry Donn saw Elvis Presley play his high school gym and decided it was time he got in on the game, forming his first band in 1957 at the ripe old age of 16. In 1959 he recorded "Honey Bun" on the Vaden label with the flip side "That's What I Call a Ball" which both have since become Rockabilly staples performed by musicians all over the world.
By the 1980's rockabilly revival Larry found he'd become a European tour superstar. Touring in Britain, Germany, and Holland, Larry performed for thousands of screaming fans. Today his CDs are sold world wide and Larry Donn memorabilia is worth big bucks on the market. Some early recordings are worth as much as $250 for a single 45 record. Larry Donn also wrote a column, "Rockabilly Days" in the leading American Roots Music publication "Now Dig This".
Larry has said "My interest in music was natural, I guess, as several people in my family are musicians. One of my uncles played with Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys in the 1940's. I listened mostly to country or hillbilly music in my childhood, because it was the music my parents liked. In the early 50's I discovered Dean Martin, and began to pattern my singing after him. In 1955, Sonny Burgess and The Pacers played a show at our school gymnasium. It was the first time I had heard a live rock n roll band, and I was immediately hooked on this new style of music. One day in the fall of 1955, while walking through the auditorium at Bono High School where I was a student, I noticed a crowd of girls gathered around the announcement board in the hall, obviously very excited. I asked one of them what the excitement was about. She replied, breathlessly, "Oh, Elvis is coming!" I said "Elvis who?" Of course, in a few weeks I knew very well who Elvis was as did the whole country. Elvis, who only did the one show at Bono, drew such a large crowd that the extra weight caused some of the floor supports to crack. Fortunately, the floor did not collapse. Elvis said many years later in an interview that he would never forget the show at Bono, because it was there that he first realized he was going to be a big star."
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