Hailing from Atlanta (and graduating from Brown High School in the West End), Tommy Roe is credited with helping create bubblegum music in the ’60s, with a series of hopelessly romantic hits between 1962 and 1967 that appealed to teen and preteen audiences. Influenced by Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, Roe combined clean-cut good looks with his hook-laden songs (which he often wrote himself) to become an eminently lunchbox-friendly artist who heralded the rise of the Tiger Beat era.
Roe’s rise to fame was populated by some familiar local characters, with manager Bill Lowery and producer Felton Jarvis involved in his career, and Joe South, Mac Davis, Billy Joe Royal and Ray Stevens as boyhood friends. Roe’s first musical foray was during high school, as part of the The Satins (which also featured Mike Clark and Bobby West), a group that played high-school dances and fraternity parties at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.
Though his heyday didn’t outlast the bubblegum era, Roe remained active as a performer and retained a following, which has allowed him to continue participating in oldies tours and concerts, singing songs like “Sheila,” “Sweat Pea” and “Dizzy” to the fans who grew up with his music.