Open main menu

Randy Sparks (born July 29, 1933, Leavenworth, Kansas) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and founder of The New Christy Minstrels and The Back Porch Majority.

Randy Sparks
Randy Sparks.png
Randy Sparks in 1964
Background information
Birth nameLloyd A. Sparks[1]
Born (1933-07-29) July 29, 1933 (age 85)
Leavenworth, Kansas, United States
Genresfolk
Occupation(s)Musician
Instrumentsguitar, banjo
Years active1958–current
LabelsVerve, Columbia
Associated actsThe New Christy Minstrels, The Back Porch Majority

Contents

BiographyEdit

Sparks grew up in Oakland, California, and attended the University of California at Berkeley. His first musical engagement was at the Purple Onion in San Francisco.[2] In the late 1950s, he had a solo career and released two albums on the Verve label, a self-titled album in 1958 and Walking the Low Road in 1959. The single "Walkin' The Low Road" had previously reached the Cashbox magazine Top 60.

In 1960, he formed a trio called "The Randy Sparks Three" and had an album of the same name. He wrote the song "Today"[3] which was a hit for the New Christy Minstrels for their 1964 album of the same title for Columbia Records (CL 2159/CS 8959) and he wrote "Green, Green" with Barry McGuire for the 1963 album Ramblin (CL 2055/CS 8855).[4] Sparks had the starring role in a 1960 film drama, The Big Night.

Sparks also wrote the musical score for the 1964 movie "Advance to the Rear", a Civil War spoof. The love song "Today" ("while the blossoms still cling to the vine") was part of that score.

Sparks also sang the opening credits of the theme song of the 1958 film Thunder Road. In an email to DJ Allyn in 2009, he explains how Robert Mitchum had asked that he play his kid brother in the movie and writing the music, but ended up just singing the theme song written by Mitchum.[5]

In 2009, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him and The New Christy Minstrels.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Jackie Miller from 1958 to 1962. Following their divorce, he was married to actress Diane Jergens from 1962 until her death in 2018. The couple had four children, Kevin Ray (b. 1963), twins Cameron Michael and Melinda Anne (b. 1966), and Amanda Hamilton (b. 1970).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ BMI.com Accessed 2011-04-12.
  2. ^ The New Christy Minstrels in Person, Columbia CL 1941, liner notes.
  3. ^ allmusic.com Accessed 2011-04-12.
  4. ^ allmusic.com Accessed 2011-04-12.
  5. ^ "DJ Allyn The Soundtrack of My Life". Archived from the original on 2012-11-11. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  6. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated Archived 2012-10-13 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit