Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Collins Kids

COLLINS KIDS.

Larry and Lorrie Collins were among the most influential rockabilly acts of the 1950s. Lawrencine May Collins (1942– ) and Lawrence Albert Collins(1944– ) were raised on a dairy farm and attended a one-room school near Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

At the age of eight Lorrie won a talent contest in Tulsa hosted by Western swing steel guitarist Leon McAuliffe. McAuliffe encouraged Lorrie's parents to relocate to California to develop her talents, which they did in 1953. In the meantime, Larry mastered the guitar, with tutelage from the legendary guitarist Joe Maphis. After winning several talent contests, the Collins Kids landed a regular spot on the Town Hall Party in 1954, owning a major radio and television contract before they were teenagers. Approximately one year later they recorded their first releases for Columbia, "Hush Money" and "Beetle Bug Bop."

During their tenure with Columbia from 1955 to 1959 they were showcased in their "hopped-up hillbilly" style with such releases as "Whistle Bait," "Hot Rod," "Soda Poppin' Around," and "In My Teens," all of which spoke directly to the teen generation of the fifties. Lorrie and teen heartthrob Ricky Nelson dated during the 1950s. Lorrie appeared on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as Ricky's girlfriend, and the couple sang the Collins Kids' version of "Just Because" on one episode. The romance cooled, however, and Lorrie eventually married Stu Carnall, road manager for Johnny Cash, with whom the Collins Kids toured.

The Collins Kids' popularity resulted in appearances on the Steve Allen Show, the Ozark Jubilee, and the Grand Ole Opry. Dissolving their act in 1961 after the birth of Lorrie's first child, Larry continued to write music. He is best known as co-composer of "Delta Dawn" (1972) and "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" (1981). Several of the Collins's recordings have been reissued in the United States and Europe, and the two reunite for occasional appearances, especially in Europe, where they remain popular.

George O. Carney

See also: COUNTRY MUSIC, WANDA LAVONNE JACKSON, LEON McAULIFFE, WESTERN SWING

Bibliography

Larry and Lorrie Collins, interview by Larry O'Dell, History of Rock and Roll Collection, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

"Collins Kids," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Paul Kingsbury, ed., The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Barry McCloud et al., Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and Its Performers (New York: Perigee, 1995).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
George O. Carney, "Collins Kids," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 22, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia