was born in Dallas, Texas on August 11, 1939 (died September 30, 2003); raised as an only child in Waxahachie, Texas by Pinky and Gladys Dawson. Pinky had a swing band that was heard on Dallas' KRLD-AM radio. Realizing how much Ronnie liked music, Pinky borrowed a guitar and taught him the basics. Soon after, Ronnie formed his own band, "Ronnie Dee & The D Men," and within two months entered the talent contest at the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. Ronnie won ten weeks in a row and Ed MacLemore, who at the time was Gene Vincent's manager, signed the band.
Ronnie's first single, "ACTION PACKED" was on Backbeat Records, backed with "I MAKE THE LOVE", followed by the now legendary "ROCKIN' BONES", which came out on MacLemore's "Rockin'" label with the new moniker "THE BLONDE BOMBER -- RONNIE DAWSON." Both singles sold respectably in regional markets and in Texas, but it wasn't until Dick Clark called to offer Ronnie a recording deal with his Swan Records label along with an appearance on American Bandstand, that Ronnie's career appeared to be set.
Then the Payola scandal hit, dragging Clark and other prominent DJs into extensive legal battles and leaving Ronnie without a record or much of a career. In the interim, Ronnie toured with the Lightcrust Doughboys, played drums on recording sessions for Paul and Paula's "HEY PAULA" and Bruce Channel's "HEY BABY", as well as later releasing tracks for Columbia Records under the names "Snake Munroe" and "Commonwealth Jones".
Throughout the 60's Ronnie performed with a Dallas based group called "The Levee Singers", touring nationally and appearing on such notable TV shows as: "The Danny Kaye Show," "The Jimmy Dean Show," "Hootenanny," and "Hollywood Palace." During the 70's and 80's he formed a country-rock band called "STEELRAIL" which he still refers to as one of his proudest accomplishments and regrets that they were unable to achieve more recognition. He also continued to do and still does commercial jingles for radio and TV, i.e. Hungry Jack Pancakes, Jax Beer and just recently, CiCi's Pizza.
The RONNIE DAWSON story might have ended there but in 1986 Ronnie received a call from British record collector Barney Koumis telling him that some of his old recordings had become legendary and were collectors items in England and asking if he had any other material that he might be willing to release on Koumis' indie label, "No Hit Records". Subsequently, No Hit put out "ROCKIN' BONES", a compilation album of early hits, followed by "MONKEY BEAT" and "ROCKINITIS", and "JUST ROCKIN' AND ROLLIN", all three recorded in England and issued in the US.
Ronnie accomplished something few artists in the rock and roll genre have with his performances at New York City's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. In 1995 he acquired many new fans as well as pleasing many old fans when he blew the roof off the studio during his appearance on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."
1998 proved to be a landmark year for Ronnie. On January 16th and 17th, in Austin, Texas, Ronnie's first ever live recording was made --- "LIVE! AT THE CONTINENTAL CLUB" -- on Continental Records and was released in April of 1998 and is currently available through RD & CD Enterprises Inc. in Dallas or The Continental Club in Austin.
His recording of "YUM,YUM,YUM" (Rockinitis/Crystal Clear Sound) was featured in Mike Nichols' movie "Primary Colors" starring John Travolta, which opened in theaters across America in March of 1998. Izzie Straddlin, (Guns and Roses lead guitarist) covered Ronnie's "UP JUMPED THE DEVIL" (Just Rockin' and Rollin"/Upstart/Rounder Records).
Playing The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Willie Nelson's Annual 4th of July Picnic and Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender made an exciting 1998 touring year for The Blonde Bomber. A new recording, "More Bad Habits", was completed in Maine in October of 1998 (his first recording in the US since the 1960's) and was released on March 16, 1999 on Yep Roc Records and distributed by RedEye Music in the US.
The release coincided with the beginning of his 1999 touring year making each stop in each city a "CD Release Party" and included a second appearance on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" in July as well as a performance at Lincoln Center. Already four cuts off the latest CD have been picked to appear in two different motion pictures, most notably a picture entitled "SIMPATICO", starring Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges, Sharon Stone, Albert Finney and other notables.
All Photos: REX FLY, DALLAS, TX