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Tribute: Eddie Sulik

Eddie Sulik

You may not be familiar with the name, Eddie Sulik, but if indifferent History had been thwarted, you would be. Sulik was a talented singer/songwriter when Rock & Roll was still in its formative stages, and he created a fresh and invigorating blend of country, blues and rock. Sulik's carefully crafted melodies recall the classics of Buddy Holly and Bobby Fuller, and his harmonies are on a par with the remarkable Everly Brothers. He had several hits on the East Coast, appeared on television, toured the country, and had arranged a meeting in New York that was to be his "big break". Posthumously, he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (early Rock royalty, reigning alongside Holly, Fuller, and the Everlys). So why haven't you heard of Eddie Sulik? Read on.

The Archive would like to express its appreciation to Eddie Sulik, Jr. for the wealth of information, photos, and resources he provided to aid in the creation of this Tribute. Please visit Eddie Sulik on MySpace for even more material, including additional photos, multimedia displays and the Eddie Sulik jukebox.

Eddie Sulik

Sulik at the time of his baseball contract.

Eddie Sulik seemed to have a talent for every endeavor he attempted. One of ten children, Sulik was born in October 1929 in Sagamore, Pennsylvania. At a young age his family moved to Stratford, Connecticut. Sulik did some arena boxing when he was around age 17. He played minor league baseball, under contract with the New York Yankees, on one of their "farm teams," the Kansas City Blues. He served in the military during the Korean War (stationed mainly in Alaska) and was honorably discharged as a corporal. But his passion was music. While on furlough during his time in the army, Sulik would play local honky-tonks and country & western bars, and he appeared live on Alaskan radio.

Corporal Sulik

When Sulik returned home, he worked construction by day and dedicated himself to his musical aspirations at night. He played locally (in and around Connecticut) while writing and promoting his music. During the 1950s, he often performed as singer and guitarist with the house band at Shorty Warren's Copa Club in Secaucus, New Jersey. In 1959, Sulik walked into the Columbia Records offices in Bridgeport, CT with a demo of his composition, "Loving and Losing." (The Columbia building stands now as "Columbia Towers" - condominiums.) Don Law, Johnny Cash's producer, met with Sulik and offered him a chance to record the "Loving and Losing" in Nashville.

Sulik and Shorty Warren

Jean and Eddie Sulik with Shorty Warren (center).

In November 1959, Sulik recorded four of his compositions, backed by Nashville's finest, including guitarist Hank Garland, the Anita Kerr Singers, and Elvis Presley's studio band. The songs were released by The Echoes, a duo of which Sulik was the lead singer, songwriter and spokesperson. The songs, "Bye-Bye My Baby," "Do I Love You? ('Deed I Do)," "Ecstasy" and "Loving and Losing" received good reviews from Billboard in 1960. (The reviews are provided later on this page.)

"Do I Love You? ('Deed I Do)," accompanied by photos of Eddie Sulik and related-memorabilia:

Nineteen-sixty was busy for Sulik. The Echoes were performing at sock hops that featured artists like The Temptations and Paul Anka. They performed at Miss Universe pageants around the country, and were featured in the annual Barnum Festival Parade in Bridgeport, CT. The duo played the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, and Sulik was often asked to back visiting country musicians at the venue. The Echoes also appeared at Riverside Amusement Park (now Six Flags) in Agawam, Massachusetts, as part of rock & roll show with Johnny Tillotson ("Poetry in Motion," "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'"). Additionally, The Echoes appeared on televison, playing "The Clay Cole Show," which aired live from Palisades Amusement Park (NJ), and performing with Johnny Burnette ("You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful (And You're Mine)," "Dreamin'") on the television show, "Connecticut Bandstand with Biggie Nevins."

Sulik and Anita Kerr Singers

Sulik (right) with the Anita Kerr Singers watching records being pressed

in the Columbia Records facility in Bridgeport, CT.

While performing with The Echoes, Sulik continued independently writing, performing and promoting his music. He went solo in 1961, playing the Emerald Room at the Soundview Hotel in Milford, Connecticut. (Unfortunately the Emerald Room has since been demolished). The night spot attracted the biggest names of the day (such as Jackie Gleason and Frank Sinatra) and was noted for its "tasteful" burlesque shows. Sulik acted as emcee and often took the stage between other performers' sets.

Sulik at the Emerald Room

Performing at the Emerald Room.

In 1961, Sulik (using the stage name Les Parker) recorded the songs, "We're Gonna Dance All Night" ("Twist All Night"), and a cover of Hank Williams's "Lovesick Blues" at RCA Studios in New York City. The songs included background vocals by the Nastu Sisters and were released on a pilot label called T-Kay Records.

Eddie Sulik

Playing with an unidentified bassist, 1963.

The wheel of fortune seemed to have spun in Eddie Sulik's favor in 1965. He had attracted the interest of Archie Bleyer, former head of Cadence Records (home of the Everly Brothers). Bleyer wanted to meet with Sulik in New York City and scheduled a meeting on 9 December 1965, when famed guitarist and record producer, Chet Atkins, would be in town.

Eddie Sulik

New Year's, 1965.

The night before the big meeting, Sulik attended a business dinner at Hillandale Country Club in Trumbull, CT. (The Hillandale was recently razed.) Driving home, Sulik approached a notorious traffic circle. He blew a tire and his vehicle struck the trees at the center of the rotary. He was killed instantly. Eddie Sulik was 36. (After numerous accidents, the rotary was eventually abolished, replaced by simple stop signs.)

Eddie Sulik's grave

If it wasn't for Sulik's son, this could have been the end of the story. Sulik had prepared a collection of original recordings to present to the executives in New York. Eddie Sulik, Jr. restored and remastered the material. On the 34th anniversary of his death, 8 December 1999, Eddie Sulik's album, A Farewell Legacy, was released by Hard Rock Hattie Productions. His work earned him induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Sulik Terrace

There is a street named for Eddie Sulik's family in Stratford, Connecticut. The family farm was once located there.

The Echoes Reviewed by Billboard, 1960

Bye-Bye My Baby *** Interesting novelty in a rocker style sung pleasantly by the group, backed brightly by the combo.

Do I Love You ** The Echoes handle this swinging rocker with gusto over good support.

Loving and Losing *** A weepy country ballad, the boys have a nice pleasant rural harmony sound, not unlike that of the Everly. Nice easy going listening

Ecstasy *** There's a Latin tinge to this relaxed ballad. Boys again hand it a nice harmony reading in front of guitar support.

"Ecstasy," accompanied by photos of Eddie Sulik and related-memorabilia:

A Farewell Legacy - Track Listing

"Puppy Love"

"Heartbeat"

"Lovesick Blues"

"Twist All Night"

"Bounty Hunter Dale"

"Where Can She Be"

"Anna Marie"

"Hard Rock Hattie"

"Lover"

"Only Foolin'"

"Anna Marie" - w/girls

"Who" - country version (harmony w/George Kiriakis)

* Bonus hidden track

"Bounty Hunter Dale," with accompanying vocals by the Nastu Sisters:

For some great stories from a more personal perspective, visit Eddie Sulik on MySpace, maintained by his son, Eddie, Jr. Includes some amazing photos, a jukebox that plays Eddie Sr.'s hits and unique multimedia displays.