Bill Allen


Akron,  1950s-1970s


Bill Allen, with his band, was one of, if not the first, local rock and roll bands. Bill Snively was a student at Ellet High School in 1955, generally considered to be the first year for rock and roll. He formed a duo with Ellet HS classmate John Seli and the guys were connected to Eldorado Records in NYC when they were seen by label owners Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman (they guys who invented 'break-in" records with "Flying Saucers". They recorded one of Bill's songs "Oo-We-Baby" at Audio Recording in Cleveland. The song got airplay and sales in several cities, but not enough to have a national hit. Not long after the record came out, Eldorado folded. 

The guys became a working band with Dean Hanley on drums and played lots of local dances and opening acts for touring acts which were just starting to become fairly prolific. Bill and John came up the savage rocker "Please Give Me Something" and recorded it at the studios of Akron radio station WCUE. They were connected to Imperial records probably through someone at Audio Recording, as Clevelander Wendy Blevins had released a 45 on Imperial a few months earlier. They used  Lou Josie's T.J. publishing. The record was a big local hit, but apparently the label pulled promotion on the record when Bill refused to leave home with his wife near birth to re-record the record in Los Angeles. 

Bill and the group continued to play local shows with other local artists like the Caps and the Fascinations. As rock music changed, Bill changed his act, moving into folk and country music. He continued to perform in local clubs before moving to Florida in the early 1970s. He passed away in 2013. Dean Hanley is also deceased.

As the first in a long line of Akron rock and roll, Bill deserves credit - directly, or indirectly - for the Caps, DEVO, the Cramps, the Black Keys, and many more.

Discography:
Oo-We-Baby / Butterfly  - Eldorado 505, c. Feb 1957

Please Give Me Something / Since I Have You - Imperial 5500, Mar 1958