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Glen Glenn 1934 – 2022

It was with considerable sadness that we learned of the death of the superb Rockabilly artist Glen Glenn.

Orin Glenn Troutman died on March 18th, as the result of complications from Alzheimers.  Although not a major recording star, Glen’s influence was immense, with his first recording 'Everybody’s Movin’' becoming a rockabilly standard while most of his other Era singles have been covered by hundreds of rockabilly artists. Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty have all featured 'Everybody’s Movin’' in their live shows and Dylan invited Glen to play support to him on one of his Hollywood Palladium shows.

Back in 1976, I compiled an album of rockin’ Era label recordings by various artists, licensed from label owners Herb Newman and Lew Bedell. The album entitled "Hollywood Rock 'n' Roll" [CH1] was released in April 1977 and included several of Glen’s rockabilly recordings. This album was one of the first UK rockabilly compilations and was a big-seller, thanks in part to its front cover which featured a striking shot of some early fifties Californian bikers.

A couple of years later Glen got in touch with Ace Records, enquiring about royalties. It transpired that he had had the foresight to just lease his masters for a five-year period to Era Records at the time of release. By 1977, Glen's Era masters had reverted to him and so we cut a deal direct, paying him back-royalties plus a small advance. Glen was an exceptionally nice person and I was pleased that we had helped to revive his rockin' career, as those Era recordings had largely been overlooked prior to 1977.

Glen told me that he had some further unissued recordings from around the same time, so when next I was in Los Angeles, I visited him at his home near Ontario, some miles East of the city. Glen introduced me to his close friend Gary Lambert who had played the great lead guitar on Glen’s early records. Glen also played me a bunch of his other old recordings from the 1950s including alternate takes on some of his Era 45s and so we did a fresh deal in 1982 to issue more of Glen's recordings on a new Ace album "Everybody’s Moving Again" [CH 105].

Glen was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1934.  He was a big fan of country music which was very popular at the time and he had already started singing when his family moved to California. The Troutman family, in search of a better life, ended up in San Dimas, a small town east of Los Angeles in 1948. Glen bought his first guitar in 1950 and soon became friends with a local guitarist, Gary Lambert, and by 1954 they were working as a duo named Glen & Gary. They became known as the Missouri Mountain Boys, playing local dances and jamborees after coming first in a local talent contest in Pasadena and often working with the ever-popular Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose touring show and appearing on local TV shows.

In 1957, Glen signed with Era Records and recorded four sides at Gold Star studio in LA, backed by Eddie Cochran’s bassist Connie “Guybo” Smith and his old pal Gary Lambert on lead guitar.  His first record 'Everybody’s Movin’’ / ‘I’m Glad My Baby’s Gone' was released in January 1958, but before he could commence promoting it Glen received his call-up papers from Uncle Sam. Despite this, the single sold quite well and the follow-up, ‘Laurie Ann’ / ‘One Cup Of Coffee’, also on Era, sold even better. A third 45 “Blue Jeans and a Boy’s Shirt” backed with ‘Would Ya’ was released on Era, but sold relatively poorly due to Glen being away in Honolulu serving with the US army. Dick Clark made Glen’s second record 'Laurie Ann’ a ‘pick of the week’ and wanted Glen to appear on American Bandstand. His commanding officer would not allow Glen to have  time off to do this and so Glen’s military service unfortunately meant that his music career had to be put on hold.

By the time Glen gained his release from the army, the music scene had changed, the “Bobbies” ruled and there was not much call for his raunchy rockin’ style, so although he continued playing at weekends and doing some recording, Glen took a day job, got married and settled down to raise two kids.

Many years later, encouraged by the interest created by “Hollywood Rock’n’Roll” and “The Glen Glenn Story” albums on Ace, Glen went into the Garage Studio in West Covina in 1982 to record an album of fresh material, but in the old style, helped by Gary Lambert on lead guitar, Connie ‘Guybo’ Smith on bass and Ernie Lopez on drums. This album "Everybody’s Movin’ Again” [Ace CH 105] was released in 1984 and was greeted with good reviews and sold very well. By this time Glen was already established as a big draw on the rockin’ circuit and toured the UK & Europe, headlining many festivals.

Ted Carroll

Selected releases