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Hickory 1173

No. 20    November 3, 1962




Kris Jensen was on his way to perform on Buddy Dean’s TV program in Baltimore.    He had what he felt

was the hottest record of his career in his hands-“Big As I Can Dream,” a song penned by BobMontgomery,

one-time singing and recording partner of Buddy Holly.   “En route to the TV studio, we heard a bulletin on

the radio that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas,” Jenson told Goldmine.    “By the time we got to the

station, the Buddy Dean show was cancelled for the day in order to cover the assassination.   That was the

lastanyone heard of the record.”


Kris was born Peter Jensen on April 4, 1942, in New Haven.    As a little shaver, Pete was wild about the

singing cowboys, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.      At age 16, he met Denise Norwood, a songwriter who had

made good  a couple of years earlier with JOE VALINO’s rendition of her tune, “The Garden Of Eden.”   For

three years, they worked  together, with Jensen recording Norwood’s compositions in her home studio.

Colpix Records released his “Bonnie Baby” in 1959, and Leader, then Kapp, issued a few singles each–but

nothing much happened.


When Nashville music publisher Wesley Rose heard a demo album that Norwood was shopping around to

various labels, he hooked Kris up with Hickory Records.   Kris’ first release on Hickory, “Torture,” was a

smash.     The hypnotic tune had a slow, humping rhythm and a pleading Presleyesque vocal.   For some

reason, DJ Alan Freed was supposed to choose which cut would be the follow-up; Jensen insisted, to no

avail, on his favorite disk, “Big As I Can Dream.”


All of Jensen’s later releases stiffed.   White Whale released the good-timey “Good Pop Music” in the late

’60s; A & M gave Kris his final U.S. outing in 1970 with a pre-JANIS JOPLIN cover of “Me And Bobby

McGee.”   Of all the teen idols that peopled the pop landscape before the arrival of the Beatles, Kris Jensen i

s considered one of he best.   Tracking down his Hickory singles, or his (lone and highly collectible)

Torture album, is not a bad idea.