Born 12 December 1927, Albemarle, Virginia
Singer Dennis Herrold did only one recording session in his entire life, but will nevertheless be familiar to most of our readers. His sole record release, "Hip Hip Baby"/"Make With the Lovin'" (Imperial 5482) is a real rockabilly classic and both sides have been included on many compilations.** Biographical details are few. Herrold grew up in Virginia and was still living there when he was enlisted into the US Army on February 9, 1946. The US Army Enlistment Records mention tinsmith, coppersmith and sheet metal worker as his occupation. At the time of his discovery as a musician, in 1957, Dennis was living in Dallas. That is probably where his session took place, on October 17, 1957, with unknown backup musicians (guitar, bass, drums, piano - the guitarist may have been Herrold himself). Four songs were recorded, the two mentioned above, "You Arouse My Curiosity" (first released in 1997 on the CD "That'll Flat Git It, Vol. 12 : Rockabilly From the Vaults of Imperial Records", Bear Family BCD 16102) and "Don't Push Away", which has yet to be located.
All four songs were written by Dub Dickerson (1927-1979), a country singer who dabbled in rockabilly. He managed to get Herrold a recording contract with Imperial. Together with Herrold's wife, Erma Lee Herrold (née Holmes), Dickerson wrote "Stood Up", one of Ricky Nelson's biggest hits, recorded on November 18, 1957 and probably released simultaneously with Herrold's disc (Imperial 5482 and 5483). In an interview quoted by Bill Millar, Dickerson could barely recall the singer. "Dennis and Erma Lee were married and living in Dallas. They were about the same age as me so I guess they were born around 1927 or 1928. I knew Dennis did a little picking but I didn't know he did any singing. I collaborated with Erma to write 'Stood Up' and I had a songwriting contract with Imperial. It looks like the songs I wrote they gave them to Dennis to do. I'm gonna have to check with BMI. I wasn't aware of him doing my stuff !"
"Hip Hip Baby" ("sock chanting a la Presley on a fast moving rockabilly tune" according to Billboard's review) and "Make With the Lovin'" ("Herrold packs plenty of sales savvy into another infectuous rockabilly song") could not compete with Ricky Nelson's youthful freshness and nothing more was heard of Herrold.
Dennis and Erma Lee divorced in the late 1950s ; they had a son, Johnnie Lynwood Herrold, born in 1953. Erma Lee died a few years ago. Her second husband (to whom she was married for nearly 45 years) claims that Dennis always tried to take credit for writing "Stood Up". (In fact, several websites mention him as the composer, including our usually reliable French friends at Rocky.52-net.) There was a period of several years when Erma and her new husband moved a lot that Dennis managed to have BMI and the publisher send him the checks because the companies couldn't keep up with their moves. But Dennis did record the demo of "Stood Up" that was sent to Lew Chudd, Imperial's owner.
Herrold later moved to El Paso. An inhabitant of that city remembers him playing the bars and honky tonks there. His death date (and birth date) comes from the Social Security Death Index. I'm not 100% sure that this is our man, but as the entire SSDI lists only two people named Dennis Herrold, it would be a great coincidence if there were two men with that not-so-common name who were both born in 1927. He is buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
** For an overview of the availability of Herrold's tracks see Terry Gordon's website: http://rcs.law.emory.edu/rcs/artists/h/herr1000.htm
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