Special Unanimous Choice Recipient at the 13th Annual LA Music Awards
Lifetime of Influence Award – 13th Annual LA Music Awards
Although he failed to match the success of his debut single, “Unfaithful Diane,” in July 1957, Don Deal continued to play a role in the growth of country music during the late ’50s and early ’60s. While he had a regional hit with “A-11,” his first single after signing with Capitol in 1958, and continued to record after switching to MGM, sales of his recordings fell short of commercial expectations. Despite numerous performances at sock hops and an appearance on American Bandstand, Deal is best remembered for penning tunes covered by Eddie Arnold, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Perry Como, Dean Martin, and Michael Parks.
A native of Iowa, Deal had his first break when he was heard singing in the backroom of Bert Keefer’s music school by talent scout Smoky Rodgers. Impressed by what he heard, Rodgers brought him to San Diego, where he performed at the Bostonian Ballroom three nights a week. Shortly afterwards, he became a regular performer on a five nights-per-week variety show broadcast from Tiajuana, Mexico.
Don Deal was born a farm boy in Honey Creek, Iowa. He was interested in music from childhood on and was discovered by Smoky Rodgers while singing in the back room of Bert Keefers Music Store. Rodgers took Don to San Diego where they worked the Bostonian Ball Room three nights a week and did a live television show from Tijuana, Mexico five days a week. Don’s professional singing and recording career began more than four decades ago. His first 45 single was “Cryin’ In One Eye” b/w “Broken Hearted Fellow” on Cash 1028 (1956), a fine example of the west coast honky-tonk sound of the mid-fifties, later popularized by such luminaries as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Memorable fact is that the late great Eddie Cochran was on this record too, and that’s probably the reason that this 45 (as well as many other Don Deal 50s and 60s releases) are much sought after by record collectors.
Next Don signed with a small label, ERA Records, located very near the corner of Sunset & Vine, in Hollywood California. His first ERA recording, “Unfaithful Diane” b/w “Devil Of Deceit” (Era 45-1039, 1957) was a hit. Other Era releases followed: “My Blind Date” b/w “Even Then” (Era 45-1051, 1957), “You’d Look Good With A Tear In Your Eye” b/w “She Was Here, But She’s Gone” (Era 45-1060, 1958), “The First Teen-Ager” b/w “Sweet Love” (Era 45-1070, 1958) and “A Chance Is All I Ask” b/w “Just Thought I’d Call” (Era 45-1077, 1958). A previously unissed song titled “Don’t Push” popped up on a compilation album issued in the U.K. titled “Hollywood Rock & Roll” on Chiswick Records, 1977. This album was re-issued on Ace Records in 1990.