Dorsey Burnette
Dorsey Burnette

Along with younger brother Johnny Burnett and lead-guitarist friend Paul Burlison, Dorsey Burnette founded the legendary Rock and Roll Trio. Born on December 28, 1932 in Memphis, Tennessee, Burnette was influenced in his career by fellow-Memphis artist Elvis Presley. At the time that Elvis had moved from Sun Records to RCA  and was enjoying great success with “Heartbreak Hotel,” the Rock and Roll Trio appeared three times on the national television show, Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour, the precursor of American Idol half a century later.

When the Rock and Roll Trio broke up, Burnette made his way out to California. His songwriting skills caught the ear of Ricky Nelson, who auditioned him right in front of the Nelson house made famous on the 1950s television program, “The Ozzie and Harriet Show.” Ricky Nelson recorded a dozen of Dorsey Burnette’s songs, including “Waitin’ in School.” Dorsey Burnette had a minor hit 1959 on Era Records with “Tall Oak Tree,” a song rejected by Ricky Nelson. Even before the success with Ricky Nelson and Era Records,

Dorsey Burnette recorded his own song, “Let’s Fall In Love” (Abbott 188 ) -- also known as “Whenever You’re Ready”-- b/w "The Devil's Queen" at the Abbott Studios in the fall of 1956.  Despite a competitive streak that affected their relationship, Dorsey and younger brother Johnny Burnette remained close collaborators as well as competitors. Johnny Burnette’s drowning in 1964 was a deep blow to older brother Dorsey Burnett. Dorsey Burnett himself died of a heart attack in California on August 19, 1979 on the cusp of the revival of his career after signing a contract with Elektra Records to record with his old friend, Jimmy Bowen.


Abbott 188

50s Rockabilly