About The Artist
Tommy Collins was a native of the Oklahoma City area. While in high school, his brother Bill encouraged him to take up the guitar. Not just interested in music, he was part of the National Honor Society in high school and was chosen as Oklahoma's "Who's Who" representative in 1945. After high school, he attended college for three years and was a chemistry major.
His career started over KLPR in Oklahoma City, OK. He had his own show there for about two years and was on Cousin Jay's "Mountain Jamboree" show there, too. He also appeared on other Oklahoma City stations, including WKY, WKY-TV, KBYE and KOCY.
Tommy had to serve a stint with the Marines. After he got out, he went out to California where he met none other than Ferlin Huskey. He credits Ferlin for helping him out quite a bit, including living at Ferlin's house in Bakersfield. Ferlin also introduced Tommy to Cliffie Stone of Central Songs, Inc. Tommy was signed by Central and later, also by Capitol Records.
Almost as soon as he wrote them, artists started recording his tunes. For instance, Gene O'Quinn recorded his "I'll Stop Loving You" and "I Believe in Lovin' 'Em". Chester Smith waxed "Wishing My Life Away". Ferlin Huskey recorded a handful of his tunes, too including hits such as "Are You Afraid", "I'll Never Have You", "Hank's Song", "Watch The Company You Keep", "How Much Are You Mine", "Undesired". Freddie Hart scored with "Whole Hog or None". Recent Country Music Hall of Famer Faron Young recorded his "Just Married". And the Carlisles did "I Need A Little Help".
When he joined Capitol, his first tunes released for them were "You Gotta Have A License" that had "There'll Be No Other" on the flip side. Later on, he did "You Better Not Do That" that had "High On A Hilltop" on the B side (a tune that was later recorded for a hit by Merle Haggard).
Along about mid-1954 or so, Tommy was working with Cousin Herb Henson out of Bakersfield, doing radio, television and personal appearances.
Even by 1954, he was quite a prolific songwriter as they mentioned he had already written over 200 songs. Stay tuned as you know we'll find out more about him as we go along the trails of hillbilly music history.
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