Tommy Adrian Sands was born in Chicago in 1937. Growing up he enjoyed music, particularly country music. In 1944 his mother (who had been a singer with Art Kassel’s band) gave him a guitar for Christmas.
The family moved to Houston and Tommy spent some time there as a disc jockey.
In 1951 he cut his first record and by the following year, he had attracted the attention of entrepreneur Colonel Tom Parker who was searching for another Elvis.
Parker signed young Tommy to a contract with RCA records and for the next few years, he recorded some songs, but with little impact.
1957 was a breakthrough year for Tommy. Early that year he was given the title role in a television play called The Singing Idol, a show which provided his biggest hit – Teenage Crush.
The song went to #2 and made him a very popular figure.
In April, while still a teenager, he was featured on the television show This Is Your Life.
Tommy signed with Capitol in 1957 and his cover of Faron Young’s 1953 country hit Goin’ Steady did well in the charts.
Comparisons between Presley and Sands were inevitable: both had been managed by Parker; both arrived on the Rock & Roll scene in grand style, and both went on to Hollywood to make movies.
For Sands, his first film was a starring vehicle for him titled Sing Boy Sing (1958).
His recording of the title song from the film would become his third and final Top 40 tune.