Upcoming authorized Bobby Fuller biography by Miriam Linna and Randy Fuller

I FOUGHT THE LAW: The Life and Strange Death of Bobby Fuller 1942-1966
By Miriam Linna and Randell Fuller

In the works now is I FOUGHT THE LAW, the authorized biography of ill-fated 1960’s Texas music legend Bobby Fuller. Fuller biographer Miriam Linna, whose lengthy 1988 Kicks magazine biography sought to unravel persistent misinformation that had plagued the music history of the Bobby Fuller Four, has teamed up with Bobby’s brother Randy to write the definitive Bobby Fuller bio. Randy opens up for the first time to tell of growing up with Bobby– from their idyllic childhood days in Texas, New Mexico, and Utah, to their teen-age years in the burgeoning El Paso music scene, to the Hollywood helter skelter that would claim Bobby’s life at the age of twenty-three. His death remains a mystery, with much conjecture spawned by media zealots.

Bobby Fuller was mad about all aspects of music—writing, performing, recording, marketing. He first appeared on record in 1958, at the age of fifteen. The experience fueled his ambitions; while he was still in his teens, he started his own band with his brother Randy, built a home studio, and started his own record company. By the time he was 21, he had his own teen club in El Paso, with his band, the Fanatics as the house band. The club closed in ’64, and the decision was made to make a go with the band in Los Angeles. They were soon recording for the Mustang label as the Bobby Fuller Four. Enormously popular locally, the group was to land two singles in the Billboard charts- Let Her Dance in 1965, and the iconic I Fought The Law in 1966.

I FOUGHT THE LAW will uncover the many factors that lead to Bobby’s shocking death on July 18, 1966, detailing and dispelling the myths that have surrounded that event.

In an effort to leave no stone unturned, the authors ask anyone with additional information regarding the final American tour of the Bobby Fuller Four, business and professional dealings with Bobby, or with information or documents of any sort, to contact the authors at their editorial email number below.

From a Texas music perspective, the authors would also like to hear from artists and musicians who worked for and with Bobby during the El Paso days, who may not yet been interviewed. Confidentiality is a given.

Miriam Linna has written extensively about Bobby Fuller, particularly for several collections of his recordings which appear on New York’s Norton Records label. She is co-founder, with her husband Billy Miller, of Kicks magazine and Norton Records. Miriam collects and catalogs true crime magazines, books and pulps, and edits Bad Seed, a compendium of teen-age crime in pop culture, 1949-1959. She has written about music and crime since 1975. Her articles have appeared in several publications including Crime Beat, the Guardian, Spin, Seventeen, and most recently, Loops Journal.

Randy Fuller is Bobby Fuller’s brother and band mate. Only two years apart in age, they were often mistaken for twins as young children. As bass player for the Bobby Fuller Four, and the El Paso Fanatics before that, Randy and Bobby were inseparable. The gruesome death of his brother sent Randy into a tailspin from which it would take him years to recover. He has rarely given interviews, and only now opens up to reveal the true story of the short life and strange death of Bobby Fuller.

Contact the authors:
Miriam’s email: nortonrec@aol.com
Bio blog: http://www.bobbyfullerbio.blogspot.com

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8 Responses to “Upcoming authorized Bobby Fuller biography by Miriam Linna and Randy Fuller”
  1. Patricia Collins says:

    I lived in El Paso in 1964 and frequented the teen center on the weekends. A friend introduced me and my sister, Carole, to the great music and dancing when a lot of my friends were not allowed to go there. It was wonderful. Bobby Fuller was a master at every song he played. It was an exciting thing for a young girl. The Beatles were just becoming popular and Bobby could and his band could play every new Beatles’ song almost better than the Beatles could. I didn’t understand that at the time, but looking back, he had to be a musical genius to pull that off. I loved every minute that I was there. Thank God that my parents were open enough to let us have our fun. And of course I had a huge crush on Bobby, although he was more interested in my sister; pretty blonde with a perfect figure. Bobby was very kind to me though. I would ask him to play “Harbor Lights” and he always would, even if it ended up being one of the last songs of the night. He was so perfectly beautiful: those gorgeous eyes and those slender, magic fingers. One night he sent me to the A&W on the corner to get him something to eat. He said he wanted a Bobby Fuller Teen Burger with fries and a large orange drink. I thought, wow, he has his own burger and I happily went and placed his order. There was a lot of laughter over the Bobby Fuller Teen Burger from the crew that night. I realized that it wasn’t really on the menu and, being young, I was embarrassed. Kathy Dawson was our friend that turned us on to the Teen Center. We went to Irvin High School. We moved to El Paso from Albuquerque and we didn’t know anyone. Luckily, Kathy had attended an Albuquerque school with us and my Dad bought a house on the street where she lived so we wouldn’t feel so alienated. Kathy married a guy named Steve Legg. He also had a band. I remember a couple named Royce and Joyce and I think they had something to do with the music world. Larry Thompson, Bobby’s drummer looked just like Ringo Star, or so we thought. I had a HUGE crush on him. Bill Webb played rythem and Randall played bass. Of course Bobby played lead on his Fender guitar. I learned so much about music. Once, he actually had Bobby Vee at the Teen Center. We were so thrilled, but I was amazed at how little he was. Totally tiny. Another time a band, I believe they were called the New Porters, from New Port Beach California, came and played for two or three days. They had the coolest orange Corvette. Bill Webb was dating a friend of my sister’s, Christine Miller, and Randall was dating a girl named Donna. Christine had the biggest eyes and boobs that I had ever seen. Donna was a beautiful blonde girl, but always looked so sad, I thought. I was actually afraid of Randall. He always seemed pissed off; extremely good looking and so much bigger than Bobby. And their mother was so quiet and gentle. She would stamp our hands with something, I don’t remember the symbol, in case you needed to go outside and come back in without paying again. One night we were left without a ride home and Bobby and his Mom gave us a ride. I remember the car was light blue, an oldsmobile, maybe a Delta 88. We girls knew about all the cars back then. That reminds me that there was a man with a mustang, Jack Brookshire, or something close to that. No one we knew had a Mustang! We thought it was so cool. I remember other things too, but maybe you wouldn’t like to hear about that. Nothing bad really. Just parties and silly things that young people do. I just wanted to tell you how much happiness it brought me to go there and dance and forget for awhile what a mess my life was. I’ll be eternally grateful to Bobby Fuller for making my less than perfect youth something that was joyful and freeing.

  2. saltynutz4u says:

    One of the many “strange” things that I believe I remember reading about was the”other”strange death of Bobby’s half-brother,”Jack”…As I recall Jack was also a murder victim …and that murder was never resolved..The other bizarre things that transpired was brother Randy’s decision to remain a quiet bystander as both Jack and then Bobby’s murder went the way of pulp fiction…I for one had tried several times to write about the
    Fuller Family’s unbelievable run of tragedy’s gone unpunished ..and how the silence would only ensure one thing..Whoever was responsible for these murders would never be made to pay for their crimes as long as a wall of silence was ones way of dealing with these crimes….

    • Sterling says:

      I remember my mother talking about this, (the third brother) not too long after Bobby was gone. Loraine Fuller was a friend of my mom. We lived on Rutherglen which intersects Album Street where the Fuller’s lived. Lawson Fuller worked at El Paso Natural Gas Company as did my father and there were a number of EPNG families living in the Scotsdale and Eastwood neighborhoods.

      The Fuller home on Album is seen on my Flickr account via “High Above Texas” and/or “SouthwestUSA”.

  3. AL Inmon says:

    Hello all,

    The day Randy Fuller returned from California, He went to Johnny Thompson’s house to share thoughts with Johnny who was the number one Radio DJ on KELP Radio with the 4-7 hour. I was at Johnny’s home at the same time and was able to listen in on their conversation.

    Randy said that Jay Arms a Private Eye, {the same man who rescued Marlon Brando’s son in Mexico with an armed team.}, had been on the case investigating Bobby’s death and he told Randy to leave it alone for his own sake. That is why the family has been silent for all these years.

    You see Arms discovered that a Mafia wise-guy tried to force Bobby to sign a contract with the Mob but Bobby felt he had made it big so far on his own until then. After all they were playing back to back with Herman’s Hermits at Johnny River’s Wiskey Ago-go and his albums were selling sky high out selling the Beach Boys.

    That wise-guy over stepped his authority and forced gasoline down Bobby’s throat causing his death. That stupid wise-guy didn’t realize the gas would kill him thinking it would make him sick causing Bobby to sign the contract. The Mob put a hit out on that same wise-guy so they couldn’t link the mob to that idiots mistake. The Mob wanted Bobby to succeed not die.

    You may want to interview Johnny Thompson and note his experiances with the band in those days. I really enjoyed the Fullers and was proud of their accomplishments as best band at every battle of the bands contest.

    In 1966 Bobby was a Judge for the most Beautiful contest at our high school, Bel Air High. He voted in my Wife’s best friend Margret Valdez, as Most Beautiful for that year. We also loved going to sock hops at Eastwood High and hear Bobby play and sing.

    I still have six 45 RPM records of I Fought the Law I bought at Fed Mart for 68 cents each. The flip side is She’s My Girl. We treasure those sounds and We also Have the Bobby Fuller Four album.
    I believe Bobby would have been a giant in the music industry had he lived. He was good looking and a talented song writer as well as producer! Buddy Holly was my hero and had he lived I believe Buddy and Bobby would have eventually grown together as a real force in Rock and Roll or Rockabillie! Like Mo Town It would have been Texas Sounds!

    Regards
    AL Inmon
    suealin@ktc.com

  4. Rita Haigh says:

    I had a fan club for the Bobby Fuller 4 with the help of one of their managers Paul Poletti. We had membership cards that was Bobby Fuller 4 ever. We got several people to join the fan club at the teenage fair at the hollywood palatium . What ever happened to Paul Poletti?

  5. i am from fort hood,texas and i am a music journalist and a big fan of bobby fuller four as far memories of the band . I was not born during those times i was born in okinawa,japan in aug 13 ,1973 anyways my memorys are from listening to oldiesradio for bobby fuller four and buddy holly , johnny cash as kid and going to concerts and working with bands that had a huge influence on bobby fuller four . Like unknown hinson ,headcat,stray cats, hank williams jr,the clash .i guess i could cover the influential side of bobby fuller .i have always had a interest in interviewing randy fuller .just to let y’all know, i am not getting paid and i am freelancer writer .doing this for the love and respect of music! If randy is interested .email me thanx y’all

    • mary diana says:

      I have tried ordering the book rock & roll mustangs by Stephen mcparland, I live in Canada 7tried ordering from Barnes & Noble in us & was told it has never been published, what gives, I would love to have a copy of this book, please advise

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