Troy Shondell (May 14, 1939 - January 7, 2016) was a pop/rock singer-songwriter from the early 1960s who began as a mostly rockabilly artist. He is best known for the lovelorn teenage breakup ballad, "This Time" (1961), performed in a swamp pop style for which he became most famous. Shondell had also written many songs for other bands and artists and has been cited by a number of bands as an influence. Tommy James was reportedly so taken with Shondell's music that he named his band after the singer-songwriter.
Born Gary Wayne Schelton in Fort Wayne, Indiana into a musical family, he learned to play many instruments as a child that included the trumpet, piano, and guitar and began writing songs at age 14. While still in his teens, he landed his first record contract with Mercury and recorded his first singles as Gary Shelton, "My Hero" (1957), from "The Chocolate Soldier," and "Kissin' At The Drive-In" (1958), an energetic rocker that became very popular at drive-in movie theaters. In 1959, his fame took off in the Midwest when he secured a long-term engagement at Chicago's Brass Rail while amassing a local following with such songs as "The Trance" and "Goodbye Little Darlin' Goodbye" which became regional hits. Schelton also had his first national chart success that year when Little Anthony & The Imperials had a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with a song he had written, "A Prayer And A Jukebox." In 1960, his father died unexpectedly of a heart attack and Schelton returned home to help run the family business, putting his career on hold. A song he wrote in memory of his father, "Still Loving You," later became a hit on the Country charts for Bob Luman in 1970, with a 1973 remake that made the Top 10. By early 1961, Schelton had resumed his career and became known as Troy Shondell, a stage name inspired in part by movie star and teen idol, Troy Donahue.
Troy Shondell made his debut in late 1961 on the Pop/Rock charts with the Chips Moman-penned "This Time," which became a Top 10 hit and soon after went Gold. Sometimes billed as "This Time (We're Really Breaking Up)," this song had considerable success abroad as well, reaching #22 on the U.K. charts. This smash was followed by "Tears From An Angel" (1961), "Island In The Sky" (1962), and "Na-Ne-No" (1962), which all became minor hits. He had his last entry on the Pop/Rock charts in 1968 with "Let's Go All The Way." He later had hits on the Country charts with "Still Loving You" (1979), "(Sittin' Here) Lovin' You" (1980), and "(I'm Looking For Some) New Blue Jeans" (1988).
In 1968, Shondell became a songwriter for Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville and also began a new career in music publishing while continuing his career as a recording artist in country music. He was appointed in 1969 as Assistant Regional Director for ASCAP's Southern Regional Office in Nashville. Over the years, he performed at various nostalgia shows and events through the 2000s. Troy Shondell was a Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee.
- Troy Shondell is inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
- Musicrow.com remembers Troy Shondell.
- Alan Cackett pays tribute to Troy Shondell.
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- This Time 1961
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