The Billboard Roll Call: Rusty Draper

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The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.

Rusty Draper initially started his career as a country singer, but found his greatest success in the mid-1950s with a rockabilly-flavored sound.

Draper was born in Kirksville, Mo., about 180 miles northeast of Kansas City, in 1923. He initially worked in radio in the 1930s and 1940s. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he often filled in for Ronald Reagan when both worked at a station in Des Moines, Iowa.

He began singing after moving to California, and he signed to Mercury Records in the early 1950s. He saw his greatest success in the mid-1950s, when he charted five songs on the Billboard Top 40.

Draper continued to record into the 1960s. In addition to recording and performing, he appeared on television and in stage musicals. He died in 1980.

The clip below contains his 1955 recording of Seventeen, which peaked at No. 18 on the Top 40. Great energy in this track, and Draper’s vocal is outstanding.

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