First Latino inducted into
Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ

By Bruce Fessier The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun - May. 11, 2007

Chan Romero doesn't look like the other Rockabilly Hall of Famers - he doesn't have long sideburns or a pompadour ala Elvis. What makes him even more distinctive is that Romero is Latino. And he is crrently the only Latino member of the Burns, Tennessee-based (Original) Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ.

Technically, he's an honorable mention member of that 10-year-old hall of fame. He's listed as one of more than 5,000 rockabilly legends on their Web site. But Hall of Famers Glen Glenn and Tommy Sands have certificates listing them as members of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Romero only discovered he's not a certified hall of fame member when inquiries for this story were made. Then Bob Timmers, founder of the hall, announced Romero will receive his certificate May 15 in Green Bay, Wis., where he'll perform a special Rockabilly Party at the Riverside Ballroom.

"I think that is appropriate, as Ritchie Valens did one of his last shows there," Timmers said via e-mail. "Chan has great ties to the Valens family."

Valens, who was the subject of the film, "La Bamba," will soon be a Rockabilly Hall of Famer. The Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ will induct Ritchie Valens later this month, thanks to Manny (Montoya, Romero's manager)"

Romero, who is 65, has had one significant hit - "The Hippy-Hippy Shake" in 1959. The Beatles covered it in the 1960s and included it on their "Live at the BBC" double album. It's been featured in the films "Cocktail," "Austin Powers" and "Angels in the Outfield." You still hear it today, it's the theme song for a Slim Fast commercial.

"I probably could have lived off of that if I had wanted to," Romero said in an interview. "But I always considered myself an ambitious guy." Instead, Romero started several small businesses and became an ordained minister. He figures he's written 500 to 600 songs, but has only recorded a handful even though he's had a small home recording studio for years.

Now the Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ has given him the marketability to perform again. He played with several Hall of FameŽ members April 6, 2007 at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas.

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