Roy Head

Jan. 9, 1941 - September 21, 2020     San Marcos, Texas

Roy Head achieved fame as a member of a musical group out of San Marcos, Texas known as Roy Head and The Traits. The group's sponsor landed their first recording contract in 1958 with TNT Music in San Antonio while they were still in high school. They performed and recorded in the rockabilly, rock and roll, and rhythm and blues musical styles from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s.

 

The group landed several regional hits between 1959 and 1963, but Head is best known for the 1965 international hit, "Treat Her Right.”  In 1965, the band signed with the record producer Huey Meaux, of Houston, who maintained a stable of record labels. "Treat Her Right" was recorded at Gold Star Studios (later known as Sugar Hill Recording Studios) in Houston. Issued on Don Robey's Back Beat label, it reached No. 2 on both the U.S. Pop and R&B charts in 1965, behind The Beatles' "Yesterday." "Treat Her Right," with its blazing horns and punchy rhythms (credited to Head and bass man Gene Kurtz) established Head as a prime exponent of blue-eyed soul.  This accomplishment during the height of the British Invasion makes it all the more impressive.

 

By 1995, "Treat Her Right" had been covered by 20 nationally known recording artists including Jimmy Page, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sawyer Brown, Bon Jovi and both Mae West and Barbara Mandrell under the title "Treat Him Right." Bob Dylan, Sammy Davis Jr. and Tom Jones covered the song in live performances. After going solo, Head landed several hits on the country and western charts between 1975 and 1985. Roy Head and the Traits held reunions in 2001 and 2007 and were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2007. "Treat Her Right," is estimated to have sold over four million copies worldwide.

Roy Head - Treat Her Right - TV Show Shindig - 1965
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