Early Female Rocker Lorrie Collins Dead at 76

Aug 7, 2018

Lorrie Collins — one-half of the 1950s Oklahoma rockabilly duo The Collins Kids — was one of the earliest leading women of rock and roll music. Collins died on Saturday, as confirmed by her brother and bandmate Larry Collins. She was 76.

Lorrie and Larry were raised on a dairy farm in Pretty Water, near Sapulpa in northeastern Oklahoma in the 1940s.

When Lorrie was nine-years-old, the Collins family moved to California to help her pursue a singing career. Her brother Larry soon showed a deft ability for guitar-playing and the two formed The Collins Kids.

The duo recorded dozens of songs for Columbia Records, including "Hop, Skip and Jump," "Whistle Bait" and "Hoy Hoy."

The Collins Kids would tour with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins and perform on national television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and Steve Allen Show.

Lorrie dated teen heartthrob Ricky Nelson for a couple of years in the late 1950s, and subsequently appeared with him on a 1958 television episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

The duo's career slowed down in the 1960s, following Lorrie's marraige to Stu Carnall, Johnny Cash's manager. She soon gave birth to her first child and more or less retired from performing.

The Collins Kids would sporadically perform together over the coming decades, including a 1993 rockabilly revival concert in England, Deke Dickerson's Guitar Geek Festival in Anaheim, California in 2008 and the opening of Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock & Roll Exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center in 2009.