Barbara's Rockabilly Hall of Fame Profile Page

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EDITOR'S NOTE:
Roland Janes at Phillips Recording is accepting contributions for Barbara's grave site. So many of Barbara's musicians, friends, and fans wanted to do something other than flowers that would allow them to contribute to her rememberance. Contact: Phillips Entertainment, Inc. 1-866-292-8876.

Barbara Pittman Gone at Age 67
         Rockabilly singer Barbara Pittman never had a smash hit, but could occasionally find work performing. The Sun Records and Phillips International recording artist's popularity in Europe remained constant, and she last performed in England in March.
         "She made her living singing. I never knew Barbara to do anything else," said Pittman's sister, Carlene Day of Arlington.
         Pittman died at her Memphis home Oct. 29 of heart failure. She was 67. Best known for the classic "I Need a Man," Pittman was born in North Memphis. Her mother was friends with Gladys Presley and Pittman and Elvis Presley knew each other as children. Early in their careers, the young singers one night stayed up late taking publicity photos of each other. "They were up to 3 in the morning," Day said. "She got in trouble with Mama for that. She said, 'But Mama, it's Elvis.' Mama said, 'I don't care who it is.'"
         Pittman began thinking of a singing career when she won a high school talent contest, Day said. As a child, Pittman spent time at her uncle's pawn shop on Beale Street, where she listened to jam sessions with B.B. King.
         When she was 10 or 11, she auditioned for Sun Records, only to be told by Sam Phillips to come back when she learned how to sing. Later Phillips would be impressed by a demo she cut, "Playing for Keeps," and recorded her first session at Sun in 1956, according to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame Web site.
         Other singles followed, including "No Matter Who's to Blame," "Two Young Fools in Love" and "I'm Getting Better all the Time." John Singleton, president of Sun Entertainment in Nashville, said Phillips used mostly male singers but liked Pittman.
         Barbara did several shows for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Memphis and one in Las Vegas during the past 5 years. Sadly, she was often overlooked when the Memphis area Sun Tribute Shows were put together. She especially enjoyed joining Ace Cannon's band on stage for a song or two.
         Day said her sister had a good sense of humor and "could tap dance. She could do anything." After that trip to England in March of 2005, Day said her sister's health declined. A memorial service was held Saturday, November 5th at Family Funeral Care in Memphis.


Portions of above text courtesy Stephen D Price, Memphis Commercial Appeal and The Rockabilly Hall of Fame


Philippe
Strasbourg, France Philling3@aol.com Could anybody tell me in which cemetery Barbara is buried? On this website it is written : Funeral Services took place at Family Funeral Care on Summer Avenue, in Memphis - http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2005/nov/05/november-5-2005/?print=1 - Thank you in advance for your answers. RIP Barbara.
--

Henry Harrison
Jackson, Tennessee╩ USA
rock@rockabillyhall.org
Barbara Pittman and I lived in Hurt Village, Memphis, Tennesee in the 1950s. My family lived at 620A North Seventh directly behind Greenlaw Baptist Church.╩ Barbara lived a few doors away.╩ She attended the International Rockabilly Music Festival in Jackson, Tennesse in the year 2000.╩ A coat Barbara wore is on display in the "International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame" in Jackson, Tennessee.╩
Michael Montano
Hadonfield NJ USA
viking910@hotmail.com
Just wanted to acknowlege as a fan that Barbara Pittman had such a versatile style and a great voice, and its a shame that she didnt didn't make it to the level she probably had hoped for, but in light of that she obvioulsy had many fans so maybe she did acheive what she wanted. - Thanks Mike
Paulette Parker Ellison
Medina, TN,
pauletteintn@gmail.com
This is an add-on, I already have a coment about Barbara and I am hoping a family member will see this. I would love to hear from any one of them.╩
Dave Small
Pearland, Texas, USA
thesmallstage1@yahoo.com
"I'm Getting Better All the Time" turned me on to rockabilly in the late '50's. DJ George "Hound Dog" Lorenz used to play it in in Buffalo, NY. Although I had never seen a picture of Barbara at the time, I fell in love with her simply by hearing her voice. That song was/is a rockin' masterpiece. Sounds like Roland Janes on guitar -- does anyone know? Barbara Pittman: the best female rocker ever!╩ Dave
Ron Zeck
New York, New York USA
rmonorchid@aol.com
I remember driving with my brother and his friend circa 1961 when I was 11-12 years old to a Buffalo Bisons (Tiple A) baseball game and hearing "I'm Gettin' Better All The Time" on 500 watt radio station WNIA.....what a great song!╩ It took me until 2 years ago to track down who the artist was (I had asked numerous collectors of "oldies" through the years and none of them were familiar with the song).╩ Thank god for Google.....I ended up buying one of her compilations on Amazon - RIP!
Paulette Nelson
Medina Tn. USA
. Pauletteintn@gmail.com
Barbara was my cousin. I was younger than her, but my mother and her mother were sisters. I wish I could have talked with her more thru the years. I lost contact with her brother Billy, back in the 60's.
William Belter
Las Vegas, Nevada
kruzerone@hotmail.com
I saw Barbara one time, when we were much younger. She was the definition of beautiful. Heaven is a more beautiful place with her there.
Gary Bullard
Enid, OK, USA
low6@msn.com
I just now found out about Barbara passing, I'm so sorry. I was in the Navy stationed in Millington in 1956. I LIVED at the Cotton Club in West Memphis. I was just a kid, and a friend & I were hitch hiking to the Cotton Club. A car stopped for us, we got in & he said "where you going"? We said the "Cotton Club" he said me to. We introduced ourselves, he said "I'm Elvis". I had never heard of him at that time. We got there, he went in the left door, we went in the right door.
Every time Barbara was there she always sang "I need a man". I'm now 73 years old, I have NEVER forgot that song, I loved it. Never saw Elvis again . But I soon found out who he was. Great memories for a 18 year old kid. Nobody belives Elvis picked us up on the road - I don't care - I have my memories.
BARBARA PITTMAN
ESCONDIDO, CA
aestuslitap@yahoo.com
As you can see we have the same name. I am 63 yrs old, born in 1946, 3 years younger than Barbara. If she was born in 1943 and died in 2005, how could she be 67 when she died? If she was still alive now, she would only be 66! 2005 was 4 years ago. She would have been 62, not 67 when she died. Are we missing something here?.
CARL BLUE WISE
MEMPHIS , TN USA>br> blueboysoul@yahoo.com
Barbara was a good friend. I knew her from Downtown Memphis . She recorded one of my songs. "TOO MUCH". She had an album / Record cut and I hope it gets out. She was proud of that record. Peace to you Barbara.
Ross van den Oever
Arnhem Gelderland The Netherlands
retroclothing@fabulousfifties.nl
She was heaven from Sun. Loved her music very much. Elvis was the king, she was the Queen from Sun records.
Barbara Pittman
Carmel, IN USA
bpittman@indy.rr.com
I first learned about Barbara at Sun Studios in Menphis. I wanted to learn more about her because we share the same name. I'm going to get one of her recordings. Thanks for all of the information in her profile. Barbara Pittman
Ross van den Oever
Arnhem Gelderland The Netherlands
retroclothing@fabulousfifties.nl
She was heaven from Sun. Loved her music very much. Elvis was the king, she was the Queen from Sun records.
Barbara Pittman
Carmel, IN USA
bpittman@indy.rr.com
I first learned about Barbara at Sun Studios in Menphis. I wanted to learn more about her because we share the same name. I'm going to get one of her recordings. Thanks for all of the information in her profile. Barbara Pittman
Richard Astley-Clemas
Blackpool Lancashire England
alicespiral@yahoo.co.uk
Its always a disappointment when any music star of the Golden Age passes away especially when you think of what we're left with. Barbara Pitman was an unknown quantity in England till the '70s but is now named as not only an important Sun artist but a first class Hot Boppin' Girl. She died too young and too soon, same as her contemporary Janis Martin.
Dennis M. DeWitt
Seattle,Washington United States
Slickyschick@yahoo.com
I promoted two shows for Barbara Pittman about 6 months after she had been a guest speaker at the Experance Music [museum] Project at the foot of Seattle's Space Needle. I believe these were her last shows in the United States. The first night in Seattle was great, Barbara still had her magic and mojo. The next night in Portland, Oregon was unreal the show was supper and packed to the rafters with fans and fellow travelers. The Oregonian newspaper had ran a big story about her. Dated Elvis - her mother kicked Johnny Cash out of her house for staying too late! etc. Barbara used to babysit Jonhny's kids. Good friends with Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lee Lewis, what more can you say she was a living legend! It was a joy to have known and worked with Barbara Pittmam. Humble Scribe for Blue Suede News, Dennis M. DeWitt, Seattle

Mr. Jean Thomassen
The Hague - The Netherlands
jeanthomassen@hotmail.com
Unbelievable that Barbara is no longer with us. I will include her story and a photo of her in my forthcoming book on Rock and Roll, which will be published in Dutch. She was certainly one of the best female artists from Sun Records. R.I.P. dear Barbara!
John Lenz
Santa Barbara California
JohnWLenz@cox.net
Sorry to be so late. Barbara was one of my friends from Waldron Ave in Memphis. Love always in 1958. I and Billy Smith lived next door to her, we have her first records and supported from the start. From Elvis and Jerry we still love her. Sorry to hear that she passed on. She used to sing, getting better all the time, in private, to us. In Mememory - John Lenz and Billy Smith, era 1958
Joe Urban
Philadelphia, Pennsylvia, US
gretsch6193@yahoo.com
I just recently heard Barbara's music through a compilation cd and I was very much impressed. I'm sorry of her passing. I believe that she should be appreciated just the same as the other ladies of rockabilly like Wanda Jackson and Lorrie Collins. I offer my sympathy to her family. She was one of the best.
Gino Delray
Old Memphis friends
DELRAYHDQR@aol.com
"Barbara" - God bless you and Willie in heaven ... and while you were both on earth: isn't Memphis the same destination, really? HAH. It sure was a cold day on Main Street/Memphis, TN when your kind heart bought me a hot cup of coffee and a warm pair of gloves for a starving rockabilly musician. By the way, we had some good times-n-chats ... Thank you for sharing your friendship, as well. Thanks for the introduction to our Texas pals "THE REV. HORTON HEAT" rockers, it's all your fault we have been great friends over the past decades/done shows together ... YEAH!! Be well family members and fans ... may we all remember Barbara in her kind ways-music LIVE-ON!! w/Love, Your friend, Gino Delray
Duke
Ashford, Kent, UK
JAustinDuke@aol.com
I loved the sound of Barbara's voice from the first time I heard it in 1976. A female singer on the Sun label was a rare treat. I was also at the Rockabilly Rave in 2005 were I videoed her singing 'Getting Better All The Time'. Check it out. You tube user JAustinDuke - R.I.P Barbara Pittman
ron folds
san diego california u.s.a.
ron_folds@yahoo.com.
I must say I never heard of Barbara Pittman but I'm a big fan of rock n roll music and rock a billy music. When I when read about miss Pittman I was surprised just what a part she played in the pioneering music at Sun Studios.I find it sad that she didn't have a promoter for her singing career I trust she did alright anyway. I also read she performed in England that really nice. If you can I would like to buy a compact disc of songs by Barbara Pittman. Its sad to know she died. She's probably singing along with Elvis and the angels. Take care, Ronald Folds
Matthew Bright
Mexico City, Mexico
mwbright@gmail.com
Once you heard her sing, you never forgot it. Barbara was wonderful. I'll miss her always.
Noelia (Carol Dee)
Ponferrada, El Bierzo, Leon - Spain
caroldee2_99@yahho.es
I have always loved Barbara. I would have liked seeing her on stage... Unfortunatelly everybody will have to go someday but her music will never die.
Boobie Auten
NC, USA
whammy66@yahoo.com
The post by Raffaella Frontiere NY, USA claims are bogus. Davie was contacted and confirms that he never made the comment said of him as Davie Allan worked professionally with Barbara Pittman as I reported here on this website as the moderator corrected my name to "Bobbie" but it is indeed "Boobie". There is no one who has seen or heard of a video of Nancy Sinatra lip synching to a Barbara Pittman track.
David E Potts
Lakewood, Ohio USA
david_62_2005@hotmail.com
I am David Potts, son of Tommy Potts. I am looking for any information on his life. I never knew him but I know through family he was a muscian associated with Barbara Pittman, Snearly Ranch Boys, Eddy Bond and Sun Records. If you have any information on Tommy Potts, please email me. Thanks
Robert Eugene Parker
wetumpka, alabama, united states
parker29@hotmail.com
She was a great person. Thats what my grandfather told me. She was also my great aunt.
Raffaella Frontiere
NY, USA
way2manyofus@lycos.com
BarbPcomment = Hi Guys! Like someone said here, listening to Barbara's songs can make you feel young again. Actually, the only song of hers I know at all is her vocal version of the title track from Roger Corman's "Wild Angels". Her sound and those lyrics made me feel sad, lonely, sexy, liberated, strong and proud all at once. People can say what they want about Mike Curb, but thank goodness he had the decency to release the soundtrack CD album long enough for me to get a copy - AND to have my own copy of Barbara's amazing contribution to this truly landmark movie. Speaking of which, while flawed in some important respects, "The Wild Angels" was a realistic depiction of the culture and attitudes among many, if not, most Hell Angels, at least during the mid 1960s. Indeed, its realism was praised by many, such as French New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. At that time, living at a research center for asthmatic kids in Denver, one Saturday night, the headmaster gave us a choice of which movie to see at a local theater: the latest James Bond or the Wild Angels. Some chose Bond; I chose the Angels. And was that ever the right choice! Seeing all that one-of-a-kind action - AND hearing all that kick-ass music. AND this was all across a real movie screen, not that multiplex shit people today actually pay $10. for. And I remember that after the movie, the theater had the original soundtrack LP from Tower/Capitol Records on sale in the lobby. I was too poor to buy a copy. That was kinda sad, seeing as how much I loved so many of those Curb-produced tracks. And though it would take me some 35 years to finally get my copy of the soundtrack, perhaps it was Barbara's professionalism that sustained the biggest loss. That night in that Denver theater - and, presumably, in theaters nationwide running the film-immediately after the closing (burial) scene, a music video of Barbara and the Visitors' version of the "Wild Angels" was shown. And it's anyone's guess as to who was dancing and lipsyncing to it: Nancy Sinatra, of course. No doubt, to this day most people think she and not Barbara Pittman recorded the song. Even Davie Allan once said he thought this was so! What a shame they had stolen from Barbara a huge opportunity for career growth. Anyway, I thought that someone should put this out there to give credit to where it's due. "The Wild Angels" turned my stomach and the soundtrack rocked my world-and that's just what they were both made to do! That was a lot of excitement that night for a young boy. Thanks so much to Mike Curb, Davie Allan & the Arrows, the Hands of Time, the Visitors-and especially to Barbara Pittman.
Richie (Los Tigres Trio)
Santiago, Chile
the_ducktail@hotmail.com
Barbara Pittman is one of my favourites Rockabilly singer. A pretty gal that could perform a wild song as "I Need A Man" and also a nice one like "Two Young Fools In Love" with the same energy and talent. It's funny how a song could change your mood one day. Funniest when a Singer became such an important part of your life. my ex-girlfriend was a great fan of her and got a great collection of her music. We used to play all day long that fantastic LP's of Barbara and had such a great time togheter. Missed those days. thank you for all the hapiness you gave us. you're the best. Barbara Pittman and Sparkle Moore (Barbara Morgan) are the Rockin'est babes in my rockabilly collection. Her legacy is inmortal and will last for ever. Now, like an angel singin' from above, dancin' in the sky, Barbara ... you're still alive. Richie.
Christopher Holley
Olive Branch, Mississippi
caholley@midsouth.rr.com
I FIRST MET BARBARA IN 1972 AND LATER BECAME ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED. I WILL ALWAYS HOLD FOND MEMORIES OF BARBARA IN MY HEART. BARBARA I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU. I WILL ALWAYS WONDER IN MY MIND HOW IT MAY HAVE WORKED OUT BETWEEN US IF WE HAD GOT MARRIED. TRULY A TALENT IN HER OWN RIGHT! OUR LOSS HEAVENS GAIN.
Bobbie Auten
North Carolina, USA
whammy66@yahoo.com
I know Barbara gets embraced as a rockabilly princess but she also was a very apt pop singer under the direction of Mike Curb in the middle 60's that made her the "Blondie" of her era. The 45 on TOWER 268 THE VISITORS FEATURING BARBARA (Barbara Pittman) Theme From The Wild Angels / Is It Them Or Me? 1966 US & The 45 on MANHATTAN 810 THE 13TH COMMITTEE (feat. Barbara Pittman) She La La / You Really Got A Hold On Me 1967 US are some rare releases. The great guitarist [truely the most overlooked instrumental guitar player of all time]/vocalist Davie Allan of "The Arrows" fame did a few duets with Barbara Pittman ("This I Say" from the Hollywood movie "Dr. Goldfoot & The Girl Bombs" soundtrack LP, "Makin' Love" from the Hollywood movie "Wild Wheels" soundtrack and a Manhattan Records single: "Sha La La" and "You Really Got A Hold On Me." The latter three were billed as "The 13th Committee"). These tunes hold up today as true gems of the pop era.One can only imagine had she been given the proper promotion. The records were a million times better than the movies.
Joseph W. Bond
Memphis, TN
tincansailorjwb@aol.com
Barbara Pittman was a loving aunt and friend. I remember in the "60's", they the adults) would have getogethers's at Mom's or Grandma's, and we would have the best time, listening to Aunt Barbara sing, and sing with her. I remember she would corner my brother; Larry, and would sing "Handsome Man" to him. We loved when she did that! When she would get a gig, at the local clubs, we would all get in the car, and go see her and we(the children), would get removed from the club, because we were underaged, but would sneak back in because she was "Our Aunt", "Strong will runs in our family". Thank's to, Roland, Rose, Rodney, Aubrey, and to all of her fellow musicians, friends, and fans, who have remembered and memorialized, my Aunt Barbara, with their kind and comforting words. I love you, Aunt Barbara, and I will think of you, often, and always. You make my will strong. "There is a Rock And Roll Heaven ... And It Is A Heck Of A Band." Love And Peace, Joseph W. Bond
Imperial
Paris, France
55houstonring@wanadoo.fr
That rockin' chick had left that old earth almost the same day than Janis Martin was performing in France, oct 29, 2005. I first saw Janis on stage at Eindhoven (Holland) and Barbara too few years later. Great memories, for sure. Since years, i treasure the 10 inches Charly LP "I need a Man" who look so great. Fabulous cover and great songs who made me feel young again. Barbara's songs will be played for years here. Her classic work rank with the best of Charline Arthur, Janis Martin, Wanda Jackson or Laura Lee Perkins. A "hot boppin' girl" as stated on some old bootleg LP's from the early 80'. RIP.
stephen clencie
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
steveclencie@optusnet.com.au
Very upset to hear the passing of Barbara Pittman,& so young, we had the pleasure of meeting barbara at the inaugural rockabilly weekender at jackson tenn, back in "2000". we never got to see her perform although i have most of her records, and her music will stay with me for a long time yet. A terrific artist, rest in peace Barbara, Steve Clencie.
Bennie Dingo
Ventura, California USA
rockitradio@netzero.net
Barbara Pittman was and always will be one of my favorite SUN Record Performers. I first learned of Barbara back in High School in the 70's on a SUN Compilation LP - When I was first discovering Rockabilly! I immediately fell in love with her raw honest rockabilly roots music. Barbara is now performing up in Rockabilly Heaven and she will greatly be missed down here. Rest in Peace Barbara! Bennie Dingo, Rock-it Radio Online
Martin (Marty) Willis
Valrico, FL
martinwwillis@aol.com
It was a genuine pleasure to perform with Barbara in the late 50's as a musician and member of the Sun Records/Phillips International studio group. She was always friendly and up beat and was a very talented lady. Now, she has the biggest and best band ever to play behind her.
Marijn "The BlackCat" Raaijmakers
Eindhoven, Holland
blackcat@rockabilly.nl
I was devastated when I heard the news about Barbara's passing. She was a great artist, I have all her records and was very lucky to see her perform on stage (only once, she didn't come to Holland that often). And reading the messages here, I was not the only fan in Holland. A small country, but a great Rock 'n' Roll nation. Barbara, you will be remembered in our little neck of the woods for sure!
Geoff Barker
geoff.barker@bbc.co.uk
Very sorry to hear about Barbara. I remember coming out to Sun Studio in 1997 to make a live broadcast back to the UK of my rock n roll show and she came down to join a 'house band' and sang alongside Billy Lee Riley, Malcolm Yelvington and Billy Swan. She was in great form and sang like a bird. I was back out again in 2002 working on a 50th anniversary 'Sun' documentary for BBC national radio and desperately wanted to interview her. We spoke a couple of times on the phone trying to set up an interview, but in the end she didn't feel well enough. I was really disappointed, but understood. She was a really nice lady and never got the recognition she deserved. I`ll be paying tribute to her on my show next Saturday night (19th November) Sincere condolences to all her family and close friends.
Lucian Binder
greasyel@yahoo.de
I meet Barbara and her husband several times in Memphis, and they were soooooooo nice to me. Thanks, Barbara, for beeing so nice to young german Rockabilly Fan! BIG EL, Lucian Binder
Thom Morgan
KLMTEM@BELLSOUTH.NET
Barbara was my aunt. I loved to hear her sing, She was a hoot. Thanks for your messages.
Dan
memphisevil@yahoo.com
Got news the other day of her passing. Another Sun great gone. I was lucky enough to become friends with her over the phone. She had lots of great back-in-the-day stories at Sun. She was even sweet enough to come and hangout with us when we recorded the Camaros record at Sun. She'll be greatly missed! RIP Barbara
Nol Voorst
Maastricht (The Netherlands)
boppinnol@hotmail.com
Another great Artist we love so much, left the building. Miss Barbara Pittman an icon of the rockabilly music world. Stayed busy till her last spare time on this earth. She is among her many friends in Rockabilly Heaven and one day we will meet again. Songs like "I Need A Man", "Hansome Man, "The Eleventh Commandment", "Everlasting Love", "Cold Cold Heart", "I'm Getting Better All The Time", "Two Young Fools In Love" will be always among our favorite songs. BARBARA PITTMAN will be always among us as long as we stay on this earth. In our hearts we have her and the family. THANK YOU MISS BARBARA PITTMAN! Your fans Nol & Wies. FROM THE NETHERLANDS.


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