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Bobby Fuller - JPop.com
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Bobby Fuller

Bobby Fuller

Bobby Fuller


Bobby Fuller (October 22, 1942 – July 18, 1966) was an American rock singer and guitar player best known for his classic "I Fought the Law". Born in Baytown, Texas, Robert Gaston Fuller spent most of his youth in El Paso, Texas, where he idolized Buddy Holly, a fellow West Texan. He played in clubs, bars, and recorded on independent record labels in Texas, with a constantly-changing line-up, during the early 1960s. The only constant band members were Bobby himself (on vocals and guitar), and his younger brother, Randy, on bass. Read more on Last.fm
Bobby Fuller (October 22, 1942 – July 18, 1966) was an American rock singer and guitar player best known for his classic "I Fought the Law". Born in Baytown, Texas, Robert Gaston Fuller spent most of his youth in El Paso, Texas, where he idolized Buddy Holly, a fellow West Texan. He played in clubs, bars, and recorded on independent record labels in Texas, with a constantly-changing line-up, during the early 1960s. The only constant band members were Bobby himself (on vocals and guitar), and his younger brother, Randy, on bass. Most of these independent releases (except two songs that were recorded at the studio of Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico), and an excursion to Yucca Records also in New Mexico, were recorded in the Fullers' own home-cum-studio, with Bobby acting as the producer.

He even built a primitive echo chamber in the backyard. The quality of the recordings, using a couple of microphones and a mixing board purchased from a local radio station, was so impressive that he even offered the use of his 'studio' to local acts for free so he could hone his production skills. Bobby moved to Los Angeles in 1964 with his band The Bobby Fuller Four and was signed to Mustang Records by producer Bob Keane, noted for discovering Ritchie Valens and producing many surf music groups. At a time when the British invasion and folk rock were culturally dominant, Fuller stuck to Buddy Holly's style of classic rock and roll with Tex Mex flourishes. His recordings reveal the influence of Eddie Cochran, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and the Everly Brothers in cover recordings and original compositions, as well as instrumental surf guitar. Less well known was Fuller's ability to emulate the reverb-laden surf guitar sounds of Dick Dale and the Ventures.

His first Top 40 hit was "Let Her Dance" written by Bobby Fuller. His second hit "I Fought the Law" hit #4 on Billboard and was written by Sonny Curtis, a former member of Holly's group The Crickets, and recorded by the line-up of the Fuller brothers, James Reese on guitar and Dalton Powell on drums. His third Top 40 hit was the Buddy Holly cover song "Love's Made a Fool of You". Just after "I Fought The Law" became a top ten hit, Bobby Fuller was found dead in a parked automobile near his Los Angeles home. The police considered the death an apparent suicide, however many people still believe Fuller was murdered.

He was found with multiple wounds all over his body and covered in gasoline leading many to speculate that the perpetrators fled before they could set the car on fire. He is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) in Los Angeles. Dead at age 23, Fuller barely outlived his idol, Holly, who died at 22. Drummer Dwayne Quirico said the death remains a mystery and that the police have lost all the files on record about the death. Fuller's mother told Quirico she had visited Bobby at his home 30 minutes before police told her about her son.

The police told her he had been dead for two hours in a car parked nearby. Dwayne Quirico is still confident it wasn't a suicide. The 2002 novel The Dead Circus, by John Kaye, includes the murder of Bobby Fuller as a major plot point. At the end of the book, the main character decides that Fuller had been killed by mafia henchmen trying to please Frank Sinatra. The Rock*A*Teens refer to Fuller's alleged murder in the song "Who Killed Bobby Fuller?", on their 1995 self-titled debut. A different song with the same name was previously recorded by Irish rock band Black 47 in 1994. After his brother's death, Randy Fuller took over lead vocal duties and named the band after himself.

As this did not work out at all, the band broke up only within months of Bobby's death. Randy Fuller recorded a couple of solo singles and in spring 1969 joined Dewey Martin's New Buffalo (Springfield), which evolved into Blue Mountain Eagle in July 1969. He appeared on the band's lone LP for Atco Records in early 1970 before briefly joining Dewey Martin and Medicine Ball. The Clash (London Calling, Should I Stay or Should I Go?, Train in Vain) recorded the song "I Fought the Law." The guitarists Joe Strummer (John/Woody Mellor) and Mick Jones found the song and started listening to it while recording in San Francisco, California in 1978. Read more on Last.fm.

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