• The Honeybees
    Rodman "La La" Beckham

    The Honeybees (Reading, Pa)


    Personnel :

    Rodman "La La" Beckham (Lead)

    Vic Johnson Jr.

    Skip Johnson

    Barry Boswell (Second Tenor)

    Benji "Chuckles" Williams (Bass)


    Discography :

    The Honeybees
    Single :
    1957 - Give Your Love To Me / Kiss Me My Love (Bee 1101)
    Unreleased :
    1958 - Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Bee)
    1958 - My Knees Are Knocking  (Bee)

    Hermy Herman & The Honeybees
    Unreleased :
    1958 - Laddie Daddy (Bee)
    1958 - Bowlegged Sadie (Bee)


    Biography :

    Rodman Beckham, and his cousin Vic Johnson Jr., graduated from Reading High School in the class of 1950. They later served together in the Korean War, where Beckham lost a leg in an encounter with a land mine. Upon their return to civil life, they began harmonizing with Vic’s Brother Skip Johnson, another cousin, Barry Boswell, and Benji "Chuckles" Williams, a friend of the family. Vic Johnson Sr. who was a well-established musician in Reading’ Club scene, Knew Grover Barbour, who founded Bee Records, and arranged an audition. Barbour and Russ Golding, a young aspiring song writer, were so impressed by the group’s talent that they wanted to record them sa soon as possible. Barbour gave the group their name, and arranged a recording session in Juranis’ living room, at 5th and Buttonwood Streets.

    The Honeybees     The Honeybees
    Grover Barbour                                                                                                       

    This session produced the first sides for their own label, Bee Records, released on August 1, 1957. Soon, the record was on every jukebox in Berks County and getting heavy play locally on WEEU Radio. Beckham, who was nicknamed "La La" early in life, as the result of a younger brother being unable to pronounce his real name, sang lead on both sides of the recording. The group was booked several nights a week for the rest of the year, becoming regulars at Reading’s Melody and mademoiselle Bars, the Circle Bar in Pottsville, as well as Pushniks and Chick Maples in Lebanon. This exposure drew offers from some major labels, most notably Atlantic, to purchase the masters and sign the group. Barbour turned down the offer, convinced that he could promote the record himself.

    The Honeybees     The Honeybees
                                                                                    Hermy Herman

    However, when a scheduled date on Dick Clark’s "American Bandstand" fell through in October, 1957, the group started pulling away from the label, turning to Charlie Booker to land them bigger gigs in New York City. The Following year, they played at Club Harlem, Albright College, and at Shorty Long’s Santa Fe Ranch, where they opened for Bill Haley and the Comets. Especially popular was their rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow ». Sadly this arrangement, and the song slated to be their second 45, entitled "My Knees Are Knocking" were never recorded. The Honeybees did some session work for Bee as backup singers for Hermy Herman, and Disbanded toward the end of 1958.


    Songs :

    The Honeybees

    Kiss Me My Love / Give Your Love To Me

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