One of the mainstays of early rock and roll was the tearjerker song, especially the kind that spoke of a sadly departed lover. There were plenty of memorable ones around, including “Teen Angel” and “Tell Laura I Love Her,” but one of the earliest — and best — was “Endless Sleep,” a million-seller for Jody Reynolds in 1958.
Reynolds was born in Colorado but raised in Oklahoma, where he grew up surrounded by country music and inspired by Western swing legend Bob Wills. By the time he reached adulthood in the early 1950s, he was a proficient guitarist, singer, and composer, and was leading his own group, the Storms.
Within a few years, Reynolds was beginning to move closer to the style of performers like Roy Orbison, a rising star he’d heard in a live show in Texas. He was also taking some ideas from the music of Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, but even though he was finding a little success he still hadn’t been able to land a recording contract.
He finally caught a break when an established recording industry pro heard a demo of “Endless Sleep,” which Reynolds had written in 1956, and decided to manage the young performer. A record deal soon followed and the platter began climbing the charts in early 1958, eventually making it into the Top Five.
But that would be the high point for Jody Reynolds and the Storms, with followups like “Fire Of Love” and “Stormy” charting much lower. Even solid instrumentals like “Thunder” and “Tarantula,” which showed another side to the talented Reynolds, were not big sellers. Although he would continue to work well into the 1960s, Reynolds eventually retired from music and became a successful real estate broker. He died in 2008, just short of 76 years old.