Chan Romero

Real Name:
Robert Lee Romero
Profile:
Born July 7, 1941 in Billings, Montana.
American Rock & Roll artist, contemporary with Ritchie Valens.

Robert Lee "Chan" Romero (born July 7, 1941, Billings, Montana, United States) is an American rock and roll performer, best known for his 1959 song, "Hippy Hippy Shake"

Life and career
Romero's heritage was rather mixed. His father was of Spanish and Apache stock while his mother was a mix of Mexican, Cherokee and Irish. Both had migrated to Montana during the Great Depression, seeking employment as migrant farm workers. His nickname was bestowed on him by his grandfather. Since Romero often ran around without footwear, the nickname, from a Spanish phrase meaning "little boy with pig's feet" seemed appropriate.

Romero cites a major turning point in his life in 1956. That was the year Elvis Presley performed "Hound Dog" on The Steve Allen Show. Presley was Romero's biggest influence prior to the arrival of Ritchie Valens on the Rock & Roll scene.

The teenaged Chan Romero hitchhiked to East Los Angeles, California in 1958, where he wrote "Hippy Hippy Shake" and thus launched his career. An uncle introduced Romero and his music to an A&R representative from Specialty Records: Sonny Bono. Bono was particularly taken with a song called "My Little Ruby" and asked Romero to polish the song and to return in a few weeks. Romero needed to return to school in Montana and never returned to Specialty.

Upon forming a band upon his return, it soon became clear that Valens had a tremendous impact on Romero, so much so that the two artists, who never met, sounded alike and shared much the same ethnic heritage. Two months after the plane crash that claimed Valens' life, manager Don Redfield sent a tape to Valens' manager, Bob Keane, in Los Angeles. Keane was greatly impressed with the recordings and hailed Romero as a successor to Valens, immediately signing him to a contract on Del-Fi Records, the same label as Valens.

When Romero returned to Los Angeles, Keane introduced him to Valens' grieving mother with whom Romero became close. Her home served as Romero's home during his visits to Los Angeles; he slept in Valens' bedroom. He remains close to the family and has performed at the Ritchie Valens memorial concert held yearly in Pacoima, California.

Romero's career skyrocketed with the release of "Hippy Hippy Shake" in July 1959. Released first in the United States and later in Australia and in the UK, it soon came to the attention of Paul McCartney who liked the song and sang it at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and the Star Club in Hamburg during his early years with The Beatles. The 1964 version by The Swinging Blue Jeans hit number one across Europe.

"Hippy Hippy Shake" remained a popular song as well as appearing in numerous movie soundtracks, among them Uncle Buck, It Takes Two and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Perhaps the best-known version to contemporary audiences appeared in 1988 on the soundtrack of Cocktail as performed by The Georgia Satellites. A version by The Beatles appeared on the 1994 release Live at the BBC. "Hippy Hippy Shake" was recorded by Polish singer Czesław Niemen in 1964.

Romero's first visit to Palm Springs, California in 1964 inspired him to make the area his home. He still lives in the area and divides his time between Palm Springs and Billings
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Albums

WHT-13498 Chan Romero - Rockin' From The '50s Through The '90s album art "Hip Shakin" Chan Romero* With Brian Faith Band "Hip Shakin" Chan Romero* With Brian Faith Band - Rockin' From The '50s Through The '90s(Cass) Warrior Records (8) WHT-13498 US Unknown Sell This Version
NRF-LP-8T-250 Chan Romero - Bought With A Price album art Chan Romero Bought With A Price(LP) Nashville Recording Factory NRF-LP-8T-250 US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

4126 Chan Romero - I Don't Care Now / My Little Ruby album art Chan Romero I Don't Care Now / My Little Ruby (Single) Del-Fi Records 4126 US 1959 Sell This Version
4119 Chan Romero - The Hippy Hippy Shake / If I Had A Way album art Chan Romero The Hippy Hippy Shake / If I Had A Way (Single) Del-Fi Records 4119 US 1959 Sell This Version
59285 Chan Romero - Funny Things album art Chan Romero Funny Things(7", Single, Promo) Challenge 59285 US 1965 Sell This Version
40391 Chan Romero - Humpy Bumpy album art Chan Romero Humpy Bumpy Philips 40391 US 1966 Sell This Version
4126 Chan Romero - The Hippy Hippy Shake  / My Little Ruby album art Chan Romero The Hippy Hippy Shake / My Little Ruby(7", Single, RE) Del-Fi Records 4126 US Unknown Sell This Version
4119/4126 Chan Romero The Hippy Hippy Shake / My Little Ruby / I Want Some More(7", EP, RE) Del-Fi Records 4119/4126 US Unknown Sell This Version
COL 3945 Chan Romero - Ooh My Head / The Hippy Hippy Shake album art Ritchie Valens, Chan Romero Ritchie Valens, Chan Romero - Ooh My Head / The Hippy Hippy Shake(7", Single) Collectables COL 3945 UK Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

DFCD 71251-2 Chan Romero - Hippy Hippy Shake album art Chan Romero Hippy Hippy Shake(CD, Comp) Del-Fi Records DFCD 71251-2 US 1995 Sell This Version
ROCKCD 9501 Chan Romero -  Fifties Flash Back album art Chan Romero Fifties Flash Back (Comp) Rockhouse Records ROCKCD 9501 Netherlands 1996 Sell This Version