Bob Luman

Last updated
Bob Luman
Birth nameRobert Glynn Luman
Born(1937-04-15)April 15, 1937
Blackjack, Texas
Origin Nacogdoches, Texas
DiedDecember 27, 1978(1978-12-27) (aged 41)
Nashville, Tennessee
Genres Country, rockabilly
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active1956–1978

Robert Glynn Luman (15 April 1937 – 27 December 1978) was an American country and rockabilly singer-songwriter.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating back to the early 1950s in the United States, especially the South. As a genre it blends the sound of Western musical styles such as country with that of rhythm and blues, leading to what is considered "classic" rock and roll. Some have also described it as a blend of bluegrass with rock and roll. The term "rockabilly" itself is a portmanteau of "rock" and "hillbilly", the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the style. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie-woogie, jump blues, and electric blues.


Early life and career

Luman was born in Blackjack, Texas, but raised in Nacogdoches, Texas. His early interest in music was influenced by his father, an amateur fiddle, guitar and harmonica player. Bob Luman received his first guitar when he was thirteen years of age. [1]

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population, right behind Alaska. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Nacogdoches, Texas City in Texas, United States

Nacogdoches is a small city in East Texas and the county seat of Nacogdoches County, Texas, United States. The 2010 U.S. Census recorded the city's population to be 32,996. Nacogdoches is a sister city of the smaller and similarly-named Natchitoches, Louisiana, the third-largest city in the Southern Ark-La-Tex.

Fiddle musical instrument

Fiddling refers to the act of playing the fiddle, and fiddlers are musicians that play it. A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, most often a violin. It is a colloquial term for the violin, used by players in all genres including classical music. Although violins and fiddles are essentially synonymous, the style of the music played may determine specific construction differences between fiddles and classical violins. For example, fiddles may optionally be set up with a bridge with a flatter arch to reduce the range of bow-arm motion needed for techniques such as the double shuffle, a form of bariolage involving rapid alternation between pairs of adjacent strings. To produce a "brighter" tone, compared to the deeper tones of gut or synthetic core strings, fiddlers often use steel strings. The fiddle is part of many traditional (folk) styles, which are typically aural traditions—taught 'by ear' rather than via written music.

Luman attended high school in Kilgore, where the family had moved after young Bob's birth. It was in high school that Luman started his first band. [1]

Kilgore, Texas City in Texas, United States

Kilgore is a city in Gregg and Rusk counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Texas. Over three-fourths of the city limits is located in Gregg County, the remainder in Rusk County. Kilgore was the childhood residence from age six of the noted classical pianist Van Cliburn, the namesake for Van Cliburn Auditorium on the Kilgore College campus. The population was 12,975 at the 2010 census; a July 2015 estimate placed it at 14,947.

Luman had been a baseball star in his high school, and he tried out with the Major League Baseball Pittsburgh Pirates, but when he didn't make it in professional baseball, he decided to concentrate on music. In 1956, he won a talent contest promoted by the Future Farmers of America, which earned him an appearance on the Louisiana Hayride . [1]

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

The Pittsburgh Pirates are an American professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pirates compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The Pirates play their home games at PNC Park; the team previously played at Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium, the latter of which was named after its location near the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. Founded on October 15, 1881 as Allegheny, the franchise has won five World Series championships. The Pirates are also often referred to as the "Bucs" or the "Buccos".

<i>Louisiana Hayride</i>

Louisiana Hayride was a radio and later television country music show broadcast from the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that during its heyday from 1948 to 1960 helped to launch the careers of some of the greatest names in American country and western music. Elvis Presley performed on the radio version of the program in 1954 and made his first television appearance on the television version of Louisiana Hayride on March 3, 1955.

For the Hayride, Luman formed a backup band called the Shadows, including James Burton on guitar, James Kirkland on bass and Butch White on drums. In 1957, the band signed with Imperial Records, where they recorded "All Night Long" (b/w "Red Cadillac and a Black Mustache") and "Amarillo Blues." [1]

A backup band or backing band is a musical ensemble that accompanies a lead singer at a live performance or on a recording. A backup band can also accompany an instrumental soloist, such as a lead guitarist or solo fiddler, though all-instrumental performances, with no singing, are not common in popular music and traditional music. This can either be an established, long-standing group that has little or no change in membership, or it may be an ad hoc group assembled for a single show or a single recording. Ad hoc or "pickup" groups are often made up of session musicians.

James Burton American guitarist

James Edward Burton is an American guitarist. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2001, Burton has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Critic Mark Demming writes that "Burton has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest guitar pickers in either country or rock ... Burton is one of the best guitar players to ever touch a fretboard." He is ranked number 19 in Rolling Stones' list of 100 Greatest Guitarists.

Imperial Records American record company and label

Imperial Records is an American record company and label started in 1947 by Lew Chudd and reactivated in 2006 by EMI, which owned the label and back catalogue at the time. Imperial is owned by Universal Music Group.

That same year, the band appeared on the Town Hall Party in Los Angeles, and appeared in the movie Carnival Rock , where they backed up David Houston. [1]

Town Hall Party was an American country music radio and television show broadcast over KXLA-AM, Pasadena, California, KFI-AM, Los Angeles, California, and KTTV-TV. The first radio broadcast was in the autumn of 1951.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Carnival Rock is a 1957 film directed by Roger Corman with musical performances by The Platters, David Houston, Bob Luman and His Shadows, and the Blockbusters.

The following year, having been dropped by Imperial Records, Luman signed with Capitol Records, where he released "Try Me" and "I Know My Baby Cares." Capitol Records wanted Luman to change his name, which he refused to do, so he left the record label and signed with Warner Bros. Records, recording "Class of '59" and "Loretta." [1]

In 1960, Luman was inducted into the United States Army. It was while still in the Army that Warner Bros. Records released Luman's best-known crossover hit, "Let's Think About Living," a novelty song that hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 9 on the Billboard country music chart. [1] It also reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. [2]

After leaving the Army in 1962, Luman moved to Nashville. On 12 August 1964 he married Barbara in Yuma, Colorado.[ citation needed ] In 1965, he joined the Grand Ole Opry. [1]

Later career

Luman toured frequently in the 60s and 70s, and became popular in Las Vegas, with an act which combined country and rockabilly. He signed with Epic Records in 1968, and had several hits with them, including "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" and "Still Loving You." [1] "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" became his biggest country hit, hitting No. 4 on the country chart. (Steve Wariner, who had earlier been a member of Luman's band, later covered the song in 1984, and he, too, took it to No. 4 on the country charts.)

Luman's other country hits included "Ain't Got Time To Be Unhappy" (1968), "Ballad of Two Brothers" (with Autry Inman, 1968), "When You Say Love" (1972), "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)" (1973), "Proud Of You Baby" (1975), and "The Pay Phone" (1977). Perhaps his most unusual song was a slow, soulful recitation of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone."

Luman died in Nashville of pneumonia in 1978, at the age of forty-one. After his death, Bear Family Records released several compilations of his songs, including More of the Rocker, Still Rockin' and Carnival Rock. [1]


Luman is a member of both the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. [1]



YearAlbum US Country Label
1960Let's Think About LivingWarner Bros.
1965Livin' Lovin' SoundsHickory
1968Ain't Got Time to Be UnhappyEpic
1969Come On Home and Sing the Blues to Daddy
1970Gettin' Back to Norma
1971Is It Any Wonder That I Love You
Chain Don't Take to Me
1972When You Say Love38
Lonely Women Make Good Lovers10
1973Neither One of Us26
1974Bob Luman's Greatest Hits26
Still Loving You42Hickory/MGM
Red Cadillac and Black MoustacheEpic
1976A Satisfied Mind
1977Alive and Well
1978Bob Luman49Polydor


1957 "Red Hot" Cf.

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country US CAN Country AUS
1959 "My Baby Walks Over Me" N/A
"Dreamy Doll" Let's Think About Livin'
1960 "Let's Think About Living" 9 7 3
"Why Why Bye Bye" 106 43
"Oh Lonesome Me" 105
1961 "Great Snowman/Pig Latin Song" 62 N/A
"Private Eye" 58
1962 "Rocks of Reno"
"Belonging to You"
"Hey Joe"
"You're Everything"
1963 "You're Welcome"
"I'm Gonna Write You a Song"
"I Like Your Kind of Love" (with Sue Thompson)26
1964 "The File" 24 Livin' Lovin' Sounds
"Lonely Room" N/A
"Fire Engine Red"
1966 "Five Miles from Home (Soon I'll See Mary)" 39
"Poor Boy Blues" 39
"Come On and Sing" 42
1967 "Hardly Anymore" 59
"If You Don't Love Me (Then Why Don't You Leave Me Alone)" 61
"Running Scared"
1968 "Ain't Got Time to Be Unhappy" 19 6 Ain't Got Time to Be Unhappy
"I Like Trains" 50 Come On Home and Sing the Blues to Daddy
"Woman Without Love"
1969 "Come On Home and Sing the Blues to Daddy" 24
"It's All Over (But the Shouting)" 65 N/A
"Every Day I Have to Cry Some" 23 Gettin' Back to Norma
"The Gun" 60 28
1970 "Gettin' Back to Norma" 56
"Still Loving You" 56 N/A
"Honky Tonk Man" 22 Is It Any Wonder That I Love You
"What About the Hurt" 44 37
1971 "Is It Any Wonder That I Love You" 60
"I Got a Woman" 40 43 Chain Don't Take to Me
"A Chain Don't Take to Me" 30
1972 "When You Say Love" 6 10 When You Say Love
"It Takes You" 21 34 Lonely Women Make Good Lovers
"Lonely Women Make Good Lovers" 4 4
1973 "Neither One of Us" 7 17 Neither One of Us
"A Good Love Is Like a Good Song" 23 43
"Still Loving You" (re-recording)7 29 Bob Luman's Greatest Hits
1974 "Just Enough to Make Me Stay" 23
"Let Me Make the Bright Lights Shine for You" 25 Red Cadillac and Black Moustache
1975 "Proud of You Baby" 22 38 A Satisfied Mind
"Shame on Me" 48
1976 "A Satisfied Mind" 41
"The Man from Bowling Green" 82
"How Do You Start Over" 89
"Labor of Love" 94 Alive and Well
1977 "He's Got a Way with Women" 63
"I'm a Honky-Tonk Woman's Man" 33 Bob Luman
"The Pay Phone" 13
"A Christmas Tribute" 92 N/A
1978 "Proud Lady" 47 Bob Luman

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "LUMAN, ROBERT GLYNN [BOB]". The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association. September 2, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  2. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 333. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.

Further reading