Well we go “Back to the Fifties” and look at a Singer whose father was a piano player; he learned to play guitar and sing at age Nine and was a Disc Jockey in Houston by the age of 12. He was a singer, musician and actor. He also married Frank Sinatra’s Daughter Nancy in 1960 and I guess he was kind of a Teen Idol for a very short period…
1. Teen-Age Crush/ Capitol 3639/ February 1957/ #2 (2)
2. Goin’ Steady/ Capitol 3723/ May 1957/ #16
3. Sing Boy Sing (from the Movie)/ Capitol 3867/ February 1958/ #24
4. The Worryin’ Kind/ Capitol/ January 1959/ (Gary, I actually bought this record)
Born into a musical family in Chicago, Illinois, his father was a pianist and his mother a big-band singer. While still young, he moved with his family to Shreveport, Louisiana. Sands began playing the guitar at age eight and within a year had a job performing twice weekly on a local radio station. He was only 15 when Colonel Tom Parker heard about him and signed him to RCA Records.
Some portion of his high school years was spent at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas where he would mesmerize his classmates with his rendition of “The Three Bells“. This was also about the time that Tommy Tune and Paula Prentiss were students at Lamar.
His initial recordings achieved little in the way of sales but in early 1957 he was given the opportunity to star in an episode of Kraft Television Theatre. He played the part of a singer who was very similar to Elvis Presley, with guitar, bouffant hair, and excitable teenage fans. On the show, his song presentation of a Joe Allison composition called “Teen-Age Crush” went over big with the young audience and, released as a 45 rpm single by Capitol Records, it went to No.3 on the Billboard Hot 100record chart.
Sands’ sudden fame brought an offer to sing at the Academy Awards show and his teen idol looks landed him a motion-picture contract to star in a 1958 musical drama called Sing, Boy, Sing. About this time, he also appeared on an episode of The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Sands performed in several films including Mardi Gras (1959), Babes in Toyland (1961), The Longest Day (1962), Ensign Pulver (1964), and None But the Brave (1965), playing a Marine Second Lieutenant, but both his singing and film career had faded by the 1970s. Sands later had a guest role in the 1968 episode “No Blue Skies” of the police drama Hawaii Five-O.
In 1960, he married Nancy Sinatra and for a time they were the toast of Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. He was divorced from Sinatra in 1965 and has a daughter, model Jessica Sands, born in 1977 from another relationship.
Sands’ pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
In live versions of his hit “Beyond the Sea” singer Bobby Darin sang “My lover stands on Tommy Sands” referring to the marriage of Sands to Sinatra.