Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Epilogue: Musician Bill Allen was more famous than he knew

ST. PETE BEACH — For a brief moment in 1957, Bill Snivley was living a musician's dream. Radio stations in the Midwest were playing a song he and his group had recorded, Butterfly.

Another song he wrote and recorded, Please Give Me Something, was on its way to becoming a cult classic.

And he was still a teenager.

Mr. Snivley, better known as Bill Allen, never became a big star. But he did tour with Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), George Hamilton IV (A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation), Buddy Holly and a then-relatively unknown Roy Orbison.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he was a popular performer on the Pinellas beaches, packing the original Silas Dent's restaurant and other venues that are no more.

Mr. Snivley, who tasted brief fame and long-standing local esteem, died Feb. 22 in his native Akron, Ohio, of pulmonary disease. He was 75.

Mr. Snivley taught himself to play guitar and was performing in Akron bars before he could legally enter them. Then his father saw a newspaper advertisement for "Bill Snivley — the next Elvis Presley" and blew up.

From then on, Mr. Snivley performed as Bill Allen.

He teamed up with a John Seli, a good guitarist his own age. At the invitation of Eldorado records, Bill Allen and the Keynotes recorded Butterfly, a peppy tune of unrequited lust.

The song began to take off — just in time for Andy Williams to cover it in a No. 1 hit. The record company folded.

Mr. Snivley and Seli found greater popular success with Please Give Me Something, a hiccupy, growly number they wrote and recorded under the name Bill Allen and the Back Beats.

For a couple of years, they toured with big names. "He said, 'I was buying these guys' 45s at record stores, and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the bus with them,' " said Billy Snivley, 54, his son, who performed for 18 years on the Pinellas beaches as Bill Allen Jr.

Mr. Snivley married and divorced, then married Judie Sterner. He worked at Firestone to support his family, but also toured the country with several bands.

"Bill had the ability to make you feel like you were just in your living room, sitting around having a good time together in a very intimate setting," said musician Kenny Later, who performed in a Pinellas duo with Mr. Snivley called Almost Live.

Mr. Snivley went back to Ohio in 1988 but had returned in recent years to jam with old friends. Until recently, he did not know that his hit songs from 1957 and 1958 had migrated to France and the United Kingdom, where they remain popular.

In 2012, Mr. Snivley and fellow band members were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

"He was just so excited," his son said.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

boca ratonState lawmakerencourages Scott to remove sheriffA lawmaker is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In a letter sent to ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Two airlinescut ties withNRA aftershootings

The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it on Saturday, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby organization.Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United air...
Updated: 6 hours ago

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 11 hours ago