The career of Wheeler’s own rockabilly pioneer is being celebrated with a new collection.
The new release, “Mississippi Rockabilly Man,” is billed as the definitive collection of the work of Wheeler native Hayden Thompson.
Thompson found success in the early days of rock n roll and rockabilly as part of the roster of stars on the legendary Sun Records and Phillips International labels.
A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Thompson got his start with the Southern Melody Boys and the release of the single “I Feel the Blues Coming On” which earned them a spot on the popular Louisiana Hayride radio show. He later joined the Dixie Jazzlanders before relocating to Memphis where he would record and release his first major single “Love My Baby” in 1957 and have the opportunity to tour with stars Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley.
He released his debut album, “Here’s Hayden Thompson” in 1967.
Thompson left the music industry in the 1970s and worked as a limo driver before reemerging on the scene in the mid-1980s as he and other performers from the era found a new audience in Europe as a rockabilly scene sprung up on the continent with dedicated fans packing concerts featuring the pioneers of the genre.
Thompson has continued to release new material through labels in Europe.
Now living in Chicago, the 82-year-old musician said he’s thrilled to see the release of the new collection which chronicles his work with 32 songs from his first single on the Von record label in 1954 through his career renaissance in the 2000s.
The new CD includes a booklet detailing his career as well.
“It sure brings back memories for me,” Thompson said with a laugh. “There are very few of us old ’50s rockabillies left.”
The Wheeler native has continued to perform as part of tours across Europe bringing together those pioneers to share their songs and stories.
While the ongoing pandemic has seen many shows canceled, he’s still excited to get on the road again as soon as possible.