Monday, February 06, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ronny & The Daytonas

Artist:Ronny & The Daytonas
Album:Hot Rod: Rev It Up

This 1964 top five hit was part of the California based surf rock and related hot rod music scene led by The Beach Boys. But Ronny & The Daytonas were from Nashville and weren't even a band until after G.T.O. was a hit. Nashville native John "Bucky" Wilkin was the leader of the group. His mom Marijohn Wilkin wrote songs like Waterloo for Stonewall Jackson, The Long Black Veil for Lefty Frizzell and Christy Lane's 1980 monster hit One Day At A Time. So the story goes that John Wilkin wrote G.T.O. while attending physics class in high school. Mom used her connections to get him a publishing deal and then a recording session with veteran Sun Records producer and session musician Bill Justis. Wilkin sang G.T.O. backed up by Nashville session men. Justis told him to come up with a name for the group. Wilkin called himself Ronny Dayton and called his imaginary band The Daytonas. G.T.O. reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964 and then an album was recorded. Then Wilkin formed a band for a USO tour. It got more serious when Buzz Cason joined the band and wrote songs with Wilkin. Cason went on to be a major producer and songwriter and is best known for co-writing Everlasting Love with Mac Gayden. Ronny & The Daytonas recorded a second album and reached the top 30 with the song Sandy. They recorded a third album that went nowhere and then split up. It doesn't seem like Wilkin liked touring. He was still a teenager at the time. You can get G.T.O. on this various artists budget comp released by Capitol in partnership with Hot Rod Magazine. John Wilkin recorded a couple of solo albums and continues to lead a version of Ronny & The Daytonas on the oldies circuit today. Here's a video of G.T.O. by Ronny & The Daytonas.

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