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Jimmy Bowen

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Jimmy Bowen
Trading card photo of Bowen in 1957; his last name is misspelled on the card.
Background information
Birth nameJames Albert Bowen
Born (1937-11-30) November 30, 1937 (age 82)
Santa Rita, New Mexico, U.S.
Occupation(s)Record producer, singer, bassist
Years activeEarly 1960s – present
Associated acts

James Albert Bowen (born November 30, 1937) is an American record producer and former rockabilly singer. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and holds an MBA with honors from Belmont University.[1] He lives with his wife Ginger in Longmont, Colorado.

Bowen brought Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood together, and introduced Sinatra to Mel Tillis for their album, Mel & Nancy.

Early life

Bowen was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico. His family moved to Dumas, Texas, when he was eight years old.[2]

Singing career

Bowen began as a teenage recording star in 1957 with "I'm Stickin' with You". The song started as the flip side of the hit record "Party Doll" by Buddy Knox (written by Knox and Bowen), but ultimately hit the charts on its own, peaking at No. 14 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Bowen's version sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record.[3] Bowen's singing career did not take off as well as that of Knox, his partner in the Rhythm Orchids, and ultimately he abandoned a singing career, choosing to stay in the production end of the music industry.

Producer and music executive

In the early 1960s, in Los Angeles, California, he bucked the decade's rock phenomenon when Frank Sinatra hired him as a record producer for Reprise Records, and Bowen showed a strong knack for production, generating chart hits for Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bert Kaempfert and Sammy Davis, Jr., regarded as too old-fashioned for the market at the time.[4] Among the songs Bowen produced for Sinatra was the 1966 "Strangers in the Night", which went to No. 1 in the US and UK, and won three Grammy Awards in 1967, including Record of the Year for Bowen.

Bowen also produced Dino, Desi & Billy, a group which included Dean Martin's son, and Desi Arnaz' and Lucille Ball's son.

In mid-1968, Bowen launched an independent record label, Amos Records, which lasted until 1971. Leaving Los Angeles for Nashville, Tennessee, Bowen became president of a series of record labels, and took each one to country music preeminence. His success stories during the second half of the 1970s included Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams, Jr., The Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Suzy Bogguss, Kim Carnes and Garth Brooks in the 1980s. Bowen helped Conway Twitty make the album titled "Merry Twismas" in 1983, which was one of Conway's No. 1 selling albums. Bowen also revolutionized the way music was recorded in Nashville, introducing digital technology and modernizing the way instruments such as drums, for example, were recorded and mixed.[5]

In 1988, Bowen founded a label named Universal Records (not to be confused with the much more famous Universal Records of 1995 to 2005), which he sold to Capitol Records a year later.[6]


Bowen produced his first movie soundtrack in 1970, for Vanishing Point, which was released in 1971. That soundtrack contains three songs which he composed, as well as music from the band Mountain and from Big Mama Thornton. The three Bowen pieces are an incidental theme called "Love Theme", credited to Jimmy Bowen Orchestra, and two others, "Super Soul Theme" and the hard-rock piece "Freedom of Expression", credited to The J.B. Pickers.[7] Other soundtracks include the movies Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), The Slugger's Wife (1985) and the soundtrack of the theater play Big River (1988).[7]



Year Album Record label
1957 Jimmy Bowen Roulette Records
1959 Buddy Knox & Jimmy Bowen
1966 Sunday Morning with the Comics Reprise Records
2002 Vanishing Point Original Soundtrack Harkit Records


Year Title Peak chart
Record Label B-side Album
1957 "I'm Stickin' with You" 14 9 Roulette Records "Ever Lovin' Fingers" (BB #63) Jimmy Bowen
"Warm Up to Me Baby" 57 "I Trusted You"
"Don't Tell Me Your Troubles" "Ever Since That Night"
"Cross Over" "It's Shameful"
1958 "The Two Step" "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" (BB #50) Buddy Knox & Jimmy Bowen
"My Kind of Woman" "Blue Moon"
"Always Faithful" "Wish I Were Tied to You"
1959 "Walkin' on Air" "You're Just Wasting Your Time"
1960 "(I Need) Your Loving Arms" "Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah! Mm Mm"
1961 "Teenage Dreamworld" Capehart Records "It's Against the Law"
"Somebody to Love" Crest Records "Don't Drop It"
1964 "The Big Bus" Reprise Records "The Biggest Lover in Town"
1965 "The Golden Eagle" "Spanish Cricket"
1966 "Captain Gorgeous" "Wonder Mother" Sunday Morning with the Comics
1967 "It's Such a Pretty World Today" "Raunchy"


  • Bowen, Jimmy; Jerome, Jim (1997). Rough Mix. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0684807645.


  1. ^ Bowen, Jimmy; Jerome, Jim (1997). Rough Mix. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0684807645.
  2. ^ Callahan, Mike; Eyries, Patrice; Edwards, Dave. "Amos Album Discography". Amos Records. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie & Jenkins. p. 89. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Jimmy Bowen Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  5. ^ Clark, Rick (September 1, 2003). "Nashville Skyline". Mix. ISSN 0164-9957.
  6. ^ Kingsbury, Paul, ed. (1998). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195176087.
  7. ^ a b Ribeiro, Márcio. "O Tema do Globo Repórter" (in Portuguese). Whiplash.net. Retrieved June 18, 2012.

Further reading

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