The Many Lives Of Eddie Hodges

I thought I’d try something different today. It might be unappealing to those who aren’t fond of videos (or don’t have the fast internet connection they require) but the endless number of videos that are now available help make something like today’s post possible. It’s a look at Eddie Hodges, who has led an amazingly varied life; one that has included appearing on Broadway, showing up on a TV quiz show alongside a future astronaut (and senator), a movie duet with Sinatra, record stardom, and eventually a completely different career as a non-performer.eh1

It might seem strange to see a six-year-old from small-town Mississippi breaking into show business, but shortly after his family moved to New York in 1952 that’s just what happened. The charismatic young performer began showing up on TV guest spots with guys like Jackie Gleason, and also made quite an impression with his first appearance on Name That Tune in 1953. (He would appear again a few years later with the then relatively-unknown John Glenn. Hodges continued to make TV appearances for the next couple of years before breaking out in a big way in The Music Man on Broadway, his casting said to be the result of composer Meredith Willson seeing him on Name That Tune.

The sky was the limit for the young star. He seemed to be everywhere for a while, most notably singing “High Hopes” alongside Frank Sinatra in the 1959 film, A Hole In The Head. But he also made other movies (including the movie version of The Music Man – oops, see comments below) and continued to show up on TV pretty regularly too. By the time he was in his early teens he’d taken another step, becoming a genuine teen singing idol, with “I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door” and “Girls Girls Girls (Made To Love)” among his many hits.

Hodges continued to work as he grew to adulthood, but then went through some changes in his life. He was drafted during the Vietnam conflict, and after fulfilling his military obligation he returned to show business but was no longer happy in the life. He moved back to Mississippi and went to college, eventually becoming a mental health counselor. In his later years he was briefly in the news in 2005 for riding out Hurricane Katrina, and he continues to entertain fans from time to time but is mostly retired.

ehcdEddie Hodges – “Girls Girls Girls (Made To Love)”

11 thoughts on “The Many Lives Of Eddie Hodges

    1. You are so right, Peter. And I knew better too, clearly remembering Ronny Howard in the film. I got mixed up because IMDB mentions that Eddie and Ronny shared a couple of roles, including the Music Man.
      (I’ll correct it in the post.)


  1. We backed him up at the Airport Club/Marina Palace in Seal Beach in late ’63/early ’64 after his tour with the Beach Boys. I just had a reel to reel transferred to CD – we (The Emperors) were the house band there. Eddie sang “Knock on your Door” “Little Latin Lupe Lou” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and a couple of other songs.


  2. Hi eddie. Saw you on n esisode of sunsmoe. You looked so familar. Then it dawned on me–knock on hour door . Glad your ok


  3. Eddie is my cousin and I have been trying to contact him. Many members of our famlies have passed but I really wanted to just communicate with him and talk about the past. My mother Carolyn Oliver Osborne is still alive and remembers many of our family members names which is why I would like to talk to Eddie. I am in Apex, North Carolina so please contact me Eddie. I hope to hear from you soon.


  4. In the Early 1960’s Eddie went to Holy Cross High School for a few years in Queens New York, My older Brother Ray who also went there Became pretty close with Eddie, and once in a while Eddie would come over to our house when he wasn’t busy which wasn’t to often, I was maybe 11 and only got to see Eddie a few times, To me at the time being so young meeting Eddie was not much different than meeting Paul McCartney, Although Paul wasn’t around yet, One day I was sick, and Eddie came over and stayed for about 10 minutes with me alone, It was a very special thing for me and I never forgot his kindness in doing that


  5. I was stationed with Eddie at Ft. Polk in Leesville, LA, in 1969 for Basic Training. Our base got shutdown due to concern for spinal meningitis and upper respiratory illnesses. They asked who in our training units could play instruments, and Eddie and I were among the volunteers. He sang and played guitar and I played the drums. We had a a lead guitarist, a bassman who had played with Lee Dorsey, and a saxman. Our theme song was either “Grazing in the Grass” or “The Horse.” We entertained the basic training units after scrounging up some old instruments and gear at the NCO club. We included Eddie’s tunes and other covers. I know we played “New Orleans” and probably Wilbert Harrison’s “Kansas City.” We had fun, became friends and parted company after basic training. I was a reservist, so after AIT, I went home. Eddie thought we would entertain the troops together, but neither of us did. He was great friend.


  6. Eddie is a second (or third) cousin of mine. I never met him but was always excited to see a cousin gain success. My best to him.


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