Tommy Facenda

b. 10 November 1939, Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Facenda became known for one single he recorded in 1959 for Atlantic Records, ‘High School USA’ Facenda, nicknamed ‘Bubba’, first gained a foothold in the music business in 1957 as a back-up singer for Gene Vincent. He was performing at a club in 1958 when discovered by Frank Guida (who later discovered and managed Gary ‘U.S.’ Bonds). Facenda first recorded a single, ‘Little Baby’, for Nasco Records in 1958, but it did not reach the charts. Guida then wrote ‘High School USA’, which included the names of several schools in the section of Virginia in which Facenda worked. It was released on Legrand Records and when Guida noticed that local high school students were buying the record to hear the name of their school, he had Facenda re-record the vocals 28 times (some accounts put the number at 46), each version mentioning the names of schools in a different region of the USA. It was released on Atlantic and reached number 28 but Facenda was unable to come up with another hit. Two volumes of the album High School USA. were issued during the 80s on the revived Legrand, each including 14 versions of the title track. He later retired from the music business and became a fire fighter.

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