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At a time when most women emulated Donna Reed and June Cleaver as homemakers and caretakers, the mothers of rocking girls of the '50s were on the road, supporting and promoting their daughters' careers. Because many of rockabilly's female stars were young girls and teenagers, their mothers played a crucial role in every aspect of their careers, from driving them across the state to gigs to sewing their clothing and even answering their fan mail. These rockabilly moms were true pioneers.
Janis and Jewel Martin
Janis Martin's mother recognized her daughter's musical talent at a young age. By the age of six she had learned to play the guitar, and when Janis was eight, her mother had entered her in numerous talent contests. "She was very much the typical 'show biz mother.' I had to go to school lots of times with my hair rolled up in curlers because I had a show to do that night. I couldn't go out and play with other children because I might hurt my hands and couldn't play the guitar," Janis recalls.
Janis talks about her mother's role as a show biz mom, and her mother Jewel speaks about how her happiness came through Janis's accomplishments.
Listen to Janis | Listen to Jewel
When Brenda Lee was eight years old, her father died in a construction accident, and the family became destitute. Her singing became an economic necessity for the family, as she was the sole support for her mother, two sisters and brother.
Brenda Lee talks about her mother's influence on her early career.
Listen to Brenda Lee
At the age of six, Wanda Jackson knew she wanted to be a singer. Her father was a musician and taught her how to play the guitar. She began singing in the Baptist church, and by age 13, she had her own daily radio show in Oklahoma. Her mother helped with every aspect of her career, and still makes all of the clothes Wanda performs in today.
Wanda Jackson speaks about her mother's role in her career.
Listen to Wanda