One of the best stories from the early days of rock and roll might be that of the brother and sister rockabilly act known as the Collins Kids. When the Oklahoma-born siblings first joined radio’s Town Hall Party in 1954, Larry (Lawrence) was just ten and Lorrie (Lawrencine) a couple of years older, but they wowed fans with their lively performances. When the show moved to TV they began a march to pop music stardom that would eventually even include Lorrie pairing up romantically with Ricky Nelson.
The duo started as a country music act, complete with fancy Western costumes and a definite twang to the music, but it didn’t take long for the boppin’ and rockin’ to take over. Larry was a bouncing, duck-walking wiz on the double-neck guitar and Lorrie was a pint-sized Wanda Jackson-style belter. Audiences loved them, and as their popularity rose they even attracted the attention of Ricky Nelson, who ended up making Lorrie his first steady girlfriend and singing with her on his family’s hit TV show.
The Collins Kids sold a ton of records with songs like “Hoy Hoy,” “Hop, Skip and Jump,” and “Beetle Bug Bop,” and the duo had several years of success before a career hiccup occurred. That happened in 1959 when 17-year-old Lorrie eloped with Johnny Cash’s manager (who was twice her age).
The siblings did reunite and perform again in the 1960s, but the act eventually wound down. In subsequent years, Larry found some success as a guitarist and songwriter, with songs like “Delta Dawn” and “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” earning him lots of royalties. He and Lorrie again began working together in the 1990s and continue to appear from time to time even now.
Collins Kids – “Hop, Skip and Jump”
5 thoughts on “Ricky Nelson Loved The Collins Kids”
I saw them performing several times in early 1957 on Town Hall Party in Compton, CA. Freddie Hart, Les “Carrot Top” Anderson, Dortha Wright, Jenks “Tex” Carman, and Joe & Rose Lee Maphis were some of the other performers. I am not sure but possbly Skeets McDonald, too
I envy you.
For those who would like to see more, youtube has tons of videos from those shows. Here’s one featuring Larry Collins and Joe Maphis, who was his guitar mentor.
They’re tremendous in every way! The YouTube videos with Larry duetting with Joe Maphis are a delight. They’re both blazing away on their double-neck guitars and having a great time! Watching Joe and Larry always lifts my spirits.
Glad you enjoyed the post. As you said, there are lots of videos on YouTube featuring Maphis and the Collins Kids — even some showing Larry and Lorrie in recent years.
I have been following Jazz Fusion almost all my life. I have seen the best musicians in the world in concert. But these kids are awesome and they are real. You have to listen to Jack White whose main philosophy is keep it simple. This is a message to Larry and Lorrie: Although many people don’t know this, your contribution to music in this universe is invaluable. Thanking you is just the beginning. All real music lovers and musicians should be extremely grateful to you both.