One of the many rockabilly stars who later embraced country music, Bob Luman had a solid career that included several Top Ten records, including his biggest hits, “Let’s Think About Living” and “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers.” But he almost left music behind for another career — as a professional baseball player — before the Everly Brothers helped him choose the path he eventually followed.
Texas born and raised, Luman grew up with two strong interests — music and baseball. In fact, he was already being watched by baseball scouts as a high school star, but his initial try at a career was as a singer. He’d mostly been a country music fan while growing up and had followed established stars like Lefty Frizzell, but when he began performing in the mid 1950s he found himself gravitating toward the harder-edged, bopping style we now call rockabilly. He was inspired — so the story goes — by happening to catch Elvis Presley in a live show.
Luman sharpened his act while leading his own band and playing in local nightspots, and after graduating high school he won an amateur show that landed him a spot on the renowned Louisiana Hayride, the same radio/TV show that had helped popularize Presley. He did so well that it earned him a regular spot on the program, and over the next couple of years he kept busy appearing there and on other shows while also making some records. He even found a spot in a rock and roll movie and appeared in Las Vegas, but by 1959 he was growing discouraged by his lack of real stardom.
It was about then that baseball came back into the picture, as the Pittsburgh Pirates offered him a contract. He decided to go for it, and announced his intent at one of his live shows, but the Everly Brothers were in the audience and caught up with him afterwards. Following their advice, he recorded “Let’s Think About Living” and it took off up the charts, becoming a Top Ten crossover hit. It was the beginning of two decades of success for the singer, with many highly charting records and countless appearances on shows like the Grand Ole Opry, where he became a featured star. Unfortunately, his luck turned bad again as he grew ill, and died of pneumonia in 1978. He was just 41.
Bob Luman – “Let’s Think About Living”
7 thoughts on “Everly Brothers Helped With Bob Luman’s Big Decision”
It’s amusing that the Everly Brothers got Bob to record “Let’s Think About Living” as they are name checked in the song (or maybe that’s why they wanted him to do it).
Good catch, Peter. I’ve dug a little deeper since then, and – not for the first time – have discovered how many conflicting stories there are about those days. One source mentions that the songwriter had been doing a lot of songs for the Everlys but nothing about them being involved. Also I found one source that said Luman got drafted and was actually in the Army when the record came out.
In any event, that guitar player sure knew how to pick!
I think that might be James Burton – he sometimes played with Luman in those days.
Can’t help but add a little trivia myself regarding the back-up singers on the “Let’s Think About Living” track. They are one of my all-time favorite groups so I always have a keen ear out for them when listening to music from the fifties and sixties because their unmistakable sound could be heard on tons of records from that era. Got a clue? 🙂
It’s ‘The Anita Kerr Singers’… no doubt!
Whew, you have a good ear. I wouldn’t have guessed that.
For a while the Anita Kerr Singers did station ID jingles for a lot of radio stations. As I understand, the Johnny Mann singers did the jingles for all of the RKO General stations programmed by Bill Drake, who despite what many loathers would say about his programming, was a total class act and all those stations were.