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Rex Allen

Better-known as the Arizona Cowboy, Rex Allen was the last of Hollywood's singing cowboys. Between 1950 and 1954, Allen starred in 19 movies for Republic studios. The films launched a popular recording career for Allen, as he had several hit singles and albums in the early '50s, before the singing cowboys slowly disappeared from the charts.

The son of a fiddle player, Rex Allen was given his first guitar when he was 11 years old; his father intended Rex to support him at dances. Shortly afterwards, Allen began singing. After he finished high school, he was hired as a performer by a Phoenix radio station, but he only stayed there for a brief time. Instead, Allen hit the rodeo circuit. His career as a rodeo rider was short-lived, as he suffered an injury from a bull. The injury led Allen back to singing, and he was hired by WTTM in Trenton, NJ, in 1943.

After he left WTTM, Allen joined the Sleepy Hollow Ranch Gang in Pennsylvania. During the summer of 1946, Allen was spotted by Lulu Belle & Scotty; impressed, the duo recommended that he try out for the National Barn Dance and WLS in Chicago. Allen became a popular performer in the Windy City, which led him to become one of the first country & western artists signed by Mercury Records. Mercury released several of Allen's singles before he had a hit with "Afraid" in 1949. That same year, Allen went to Hollywood.

Bringing along a CBS network radio program, Allen approached Republic Pictures. The studio signed the singer to a star in a film, The Arizona Cowboy, which was released in 1950. The movie was a success, beginning a string of 19 pictures that ran until February 1954. All of the movies were musical Westerns, starring Allen with a rotating cast of sidekicks. Frequently, he would star with Slim Pickens, but Buddy Ebsen and Fuzzy Knight also made their appearances in Allen's films.

Allen's film successes led to a hit record in 1951, "Sparrow in the Tree Top." Released on Mercury Records, the single climbed into the country Top Ten and made it into the pop Top 30. Soon after its release, Allen signed with Decca Records, which released his biggest hit, 1953's "Crying in the Chapel"; the song peaked in the Top Five and reached the Top Ten pop charts. In the latter half of the decade, he made a number of albums composed of Western songs. During this time, he acted in 39 episodes of the television program Frontier Doctor.

By the '60s, Rex Allen had re-signed with Mercury Records, which led to several minor hits and one major success -- 1962's "Don't Go Near the Indians," which returned the singer to the country Top Ten and the pop Top 20. On his '60s stint at Mercury, Allen had two other significant hits -- 1961's "Marines Let's Go" and "Tear After Tear" in 1964. In the late '60s, the singer went back to Decca Records, which resulted in one minor hit in 1968, "Tiny Bubbles." During this time and the early '70s, he recorded albums for Disneyland, Buena Vista, and JMI. However, he was more prominent in this era as a narrator for many Walt Disney films and television programs, as well as a voice in several Disney cartoons.

In the '80s, Allen's oldest son, Rex Allen, Jr., became a star in his own right. A museum in his hometown, Willcox, AZ, was dedicated to Rex Allen, and the Governor of Arizona honored him. Allen occasionally appeared in Western film fare, where he remained as popular as ever. He died December 17, 1999, after his caretaker accidentally ran him over with a car; Allen was 78. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Cowboy Under The Western Sky

1. The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine

2. Nothin' To Do

3. The Last Round-Up

4. The Last Frontier

5. Rocky Mountain Lullaby

6. Ole Faithful

8. The Railroad Corral

9. I`M A Young Cowboy

10. At The Rainbow`S End

11. Sky Boss

12. Too Lee Roll Um

13. Cindy

14. Sweet Betsy From Pike

15. Sleep Little Moses

16. The Cowboy`S Dream

17. Alla El Rancho Grande

18. Softly And Tenderly

19. Lonesome Valley

20. Hoosen Johnny

21. Curtains Of Night

22. Rarin' To Go

23. Old Joe Clark

24. On Top Of Old Smokey

25. Feeling Bad

26. Prayer Of The Frontier Doctor

x

Track List: The Last Of The Great Singing Cowboys

1. Arkansas Traveler (Instrumental)

2. Out Where The West Winds Blow

3. Way Out West Is Calling

4. The Girl I Left Behind Me

5. Headin' For The Open Range

6. Mexicali Rose

7. Riding Down To Mexico

8. My Dear Old Arizona Home

9. I'll Never Change

10. A Cowboy's Story

11. Gonna Marry Me A Cowboy

12. Raggin' On (Instrumental)

13. Tyin' Knots In The Devil's Tail

14. Bad Brahma Bull

15. Little Puncher

16. Dreamy Montana Moon

17. Rocky Mountain Home

18. Dude Ranch Polka

19. A Human Coyote Stole My Girl

20. Memories Of The Range

21. Riding On Across The Prairie

22. I Won't Need My Six Gun In Heaven

x

Track List: The Versatile Rex Allen

Disc 1

1. Till The Well Goes Dry

2. Afraid

3. Hot Time In New Orleans Tonight

4. Ten More Miles To Go

5. Crying In The Chapel

6. Ballad Of John Colter

7. Foggy River

8. Take It Back And Change It For A Boy

9. A Broken Down Merry Go Round

10. Always You

11. You Drifted

12. I Thank The Lord

13. Sparrow In The Treetop

14. Yodelin' Crazy

15. Wreck Of The John B

16. Don't Turn Your Back On Me

17. The Roving Kind

18. The Last Carouse

19. Wringle Wrangle

20. Blue Dream

21. Tagalong

22. Tuck Me To Sleep In My Old 'Tucky Home

23. I Couldn't Care Less

24. Rack Up The Balls Boys

25. Naggin'

26. Lazy River

27. Mr & Mississippi

28. Lonely Little Robin

29. Honolulu Boogie

30. Too-Lee-Rollum

Disc 2

1. Blue Light Waltz

2. Westward Ho The Wagons!

3. Farther Along

4. Jambalaya (On The Bayou)

5. The Mystery Of His Way

6. Little White Horse

7. I Know The Reason Why

8. Somewhere

9. Angel To Joe

10. He Played A Steel Guitar

11. Flower Of San Antone

12. I'm Lonely My Darlin (Green Grow The Lilacs)

13. Staying Young

14. Money, Marbles And Chalk

15. Softly And Tenderly

16. Bringing Home The Bacon

17. If God Can Forgive You So Can I

18. I Could Cry My Heart Out (Sometimes)

19. Drango

21. Forever And Ever

22. You Took My Name

23. The Little Old Church In The Valley

24. L-O-N-E-S-O-M-E Letter Blues

25. Morgen (One More Sunrise)

26. Tomorrow's Just Another Day To Cry

27. Ragtime Melody

28. To Be Alone

29. Hawaiian Cowboy

30. Light In The Window

Comments

Report as inappropriate
jherbert4569
It was great to see him on tour for the troops in Vietnam nam in 1964
Report as inappropriate
What the hell?
Report as inappropriate
hankins00
Loved, loved him, he was a great preformer at all of the rodeos went to in the 50

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