Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones

The Sparkletones are better trivia answers than anything else, but the band did have two chart records in 1957: "Black Slacks" and "Penny Loafers And Bobby Socks." Although they recorded in New York City for ABC-Paramount Records, the boys in the band were rockabillies from Spartansburg, South Carolina. They were Wayne Arthur, upright bass; Jimmy Denton. drums; Joe Bennett, lead vocals and lead.guitar; and Howard "Sparky" Childress, rhythm guitar. In 1955 their ages ranged from twelve to sixteen, which caused some legal confusion for booking agents and talent scouts. Nevertheless, the youngsters wrote and performed with the precision of their older counterparts, and soon the Sparkletones found themselves in demand for television shows and concerts. Bennett and Denton composed the band's first hit, "Black Slacks", which pushed up to number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Bennett's song "Penny Loafers And Bobby Socks" reached number 42. Although the band split up in 1958 so that its members could finished their education, the Sparkletones will always be an example of youthful rockabilly enthusiasm.

Randy McNutt