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Jewel Akens

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Biography

Doo wop veteran Jewel Akens was born September 12, 1940, in Houston, TX. He began singing in church as a child, but was also influenced by the blues joint in his neighborhood. In the late '40s, his family moved to Los Angeles. In his teens, Akens sang with a group called the Four Dots. Introduced to Eddie Cochran's manager Jerry Capehart, the group recorded a single for Freedom Records in 1959. Later Aikens and a friend, Eddie Daniels, recorded as Akens and Daniels for Capehart's Silver and Capehart labels. Eddie Cochran played guitar on these sides as well as Akens' sides for Crest. Akens did background vocals on releases by John Ashley ("Hot Rod Gang," "High School Caesar," "2001: A Space Odyssey"). The Four Dots also recorded singles for Liberty ("Don't Wake Up the Kids," "Peace of Mind"), Bullseye, and Dot Records ("My Dear"). In 1961, Aikens and Daniels recorded an Imperial single, "Boom a Lay" b/w "Hide & Seek," as the Astro-Jets. Akens began recording for Herb Newman's Era Records with a group called the Turnarounds. Newman's teenaged son had written a nursery rhymish song about the birds and the bees and the label owner wanted Akens to record it. After some honing, "The Birds and the Bees" b/w "Tic Tac Toe" was issued and hit number three pop on Billboard's charts in early 1965. Another nursery rhyme-influenced song, "Georgie Porgie" b/w "Around the Corner (From My House)" peaked at number 68 pop during spring 1965. His The Birds and the Bees LP was released that same year. Though Akens kept recording (singles:"It's the Only Way to Fly" b/w "Sure Know How to Hurt a Fella" on Era, "Blue Eyed Soul Brother" b/w "Why Do You Want to Go" on Paula, "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" b/w "You Better Move On," and a cover of Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty Pretty One" b/w "Born a Loser" [both on Colgems]), "The Birds and the Bees" and "Georgie Porgie" were his only charting singles. Akens later toured with the Monkees and produced a 1973 duet album by Ted Taylor and Little Johnny Taylor, Super Taylors, for Stan Lewis' Paula Records. Akens also continued performing into the '90s. ~ Ed Hogan
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