Jimmy Gilmer


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Job Title
Musician, Songwriter

Jimmy Gilmer was born in Chicago, but spent his formative years in Amarillo, Texas. As a singer and guitar player, Jimmy gravitated across state line to Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, New Mexico made famous by the fact that Buddy Holly recorded there. After a fill-in gig with the Fireballs, a band from Raton, New Mexico, Jimmy was asked to join the band. When they began to perform “Sugar Shack” at their live shows Jimmy sent word to Petty that they had a hit on their hands. The song reached #1 in October of 1963 and was called the #1 song of 1963 by Billboard. Jimmy went on to become Vice President of CBS Songs, a division of United Artists Nashville, where he discovered and trained young talent “to not make the same mistakes I did.”