TX A&M BCSC_Banner_2023Silveus Ins_bannerQVF Elite Sale_2023
Advertise With Us Subscribe Today Facebook
Not a member? Membership has its privileges— Register today! • Make SLS your homepage!
home articles Columnists |

Texas Trails-May 12, 2023

published: May 12th 2023
by: Clay Coppedge
source: Southern Livestock Standard

The Mysterious Death of Bobby Fuller

The day that Bobby Fuller died (July 18, 1966) was the same day that he planned to

quit his popular band, the Bobby Fuller Four, break his record contract and go solo—

all while the band’s song, “I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)” was riding

high on the charts.

Instead, Fuller’s mother found him in a parked car in front of her house in Los Angeles

one finger bent and broken, holding a rubber hose connected to a gas can next to him

on the floorboard. The car had been parked for less than 30 minutes when his mother

found him, but advanced rigor mortis had already set in, suggesting he died

somewhere else.

What should have been the start of a rigorous investigation became, in the view of

the Los Angeles Police Department, an open and shut case. The kid did it to himself,

they reasoned, pointing to the rubber hose and gas can as all the evidence they

needed to solve the case.

Randy Fuller, Bobby’s brother, has wondered about the scenario and the

circumstances of his brother’s death for more than half a century. As he told the

El Paso Times in 1998, “Who would pour gas on himself in a hot car? I just think

he got in a bad situation that night and met the wrong people and couldn’t get out of it.

I’m 99.9 percent sure it wasn’t accident or a suicide.”

Bobby was born in Goose Creek, Texas on Oct. 22, 1942. After a stint in Utah,

the family moved to El Paso where he first heard Lubbock rocker Buddy Holly.

That sound, that rhythm guitar – that was how Bobby Fuller actually felt and

how he wanted his music to sound.

The Fuller parents, surely as supportive and loving as any parents in rock and roll

history, let Bobby build his own recording studio in their house, complete with an echo chamber. He played the teen venues in El Paso and billed himself “The Southwest King

of Rock and Roll.” The El Paso Herald Post in 1964 declared, “England has the

Beatles, but El Paso has Bobby.”

In Bobby Fuller’s view, the Beatles, whom he admired and who idolized Buddy

Holly and the Crickets as much as he did, had one big strike against them if they

wanted to follow in Holly’s musical footsteps.

“The Beatles will never be able to do Buddy Holly like Buddy Holly because

they’re not from Texas,” he told his brother.  He described his band’s music as

West Texas rock and roll mixed with “a border sound.”

Fuller took the band to Los Angeles and quickly attracted the attention of record

executive Bob Keane, who signed the band to a recording contract.

“I Fought the Law (And the Law Won),” written by another West Texan, Sonny Curtis, topped out in the Top 10 on the Billboard Top 40. Rolling Stone magazine recently

placed it at 175 on the list of the 500 greatest rock ‘n roll songs of all time.

But Fuller wasn’t happy. He didn’t like the direction Keane was trying to take his

music, and he wanted out. He wanted to make his own music and he was willing to

bust a contract to do it. Thus, Keane is a key figure in some of the conspiracy

theories surrounding Fuller’s death. The L.A. police made it easy for the conspiracy

theorists by failing to dust for fingerprints or interview even one person in

connection with Fuller’s death.

Randy Fuller and Mirriam Linna teamed up to write the book I Fought the Law:

The Life and Strange Death of Bobby Fuller. They don’t exactly solve the case,

but they offer a prime suspect: Morris Levy.

Levy was a record executive who at one time owned 90 businesses, including a

record pressing plant, a record company, a distribution company and a chain of music

stores. He was convicted of two counts of extortion in 1988, following an FBI

investigation into organized crime’s alleged infiltration of the music business.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $200,000 but died before

he went to prison,

Later, after waiting 30 years to make sure that Levy was really dead, Tommy

James of Shondells fame portrayed Levy as a violent, mobbed-up thug in his memoir

Me, the Mob and the Music.

Randy Fuller and Linna’s book makes a strong if circumstantial case against

Levy but now, after 57 years, all we really know is that we’ll never know

for certain who killed Bobby Fuller or why.



Site:   Home   Publications   Market Reports   Sale Reports   Sale Calendar   Cattle & Service Directory   Full Commodities Report   Services   About Us   Contact Us

Article Categories:   All   Industry News   Herd Health   Feed & Nutrition   Pastures & Forages   Reproduction   Marketing   Columnists   Production   Genetics & Performance   Weather Forecast   Breed News   Producer Feature Stories   Items of Interest   New Products   Recipes

User:   Login   Logout   Register/Profile   Submit Market Report   Submit Sale Report