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P.J. Proby
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    (November 6, 1938- )
    Born in Houston, Texas
    Birth name was James Marcus Smith
    Recorded the singles 'Hold Me' (1964), 'Together' (1964), 'Somewhere' (1964), 'I Apologize' (1965), 'Maria' (1965), 'That Means A Lot' (1965), 'Niki Hoeky' (1967) and 'Yesterday Has Gone' (with Marc Almond, 1996)
    Appeared on the London stage in 'Catch My Soul' (1971), 'Elvis: The Musical' (1977), 'Good Rockin' Tonight' (1993) and 'Only the Lonely' (1996)
    'Nikki Hoeky' was his only song to make the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
    He was banned from the BBC and most live venues after a series of performances in which he deliberately ripped his pants at the crotch (1965).
    He filed for bankruptcy (1968), saying he had spent his fortune on 'wine, women, yachts, Lear jets and a fleet of Rolls Royces.'
    He was married and divorced four times.
    He was engaged to Dean Martin's daughter Claudia, until he was jailed for breaking into her house and threatening her with a pistol (1973).
    After he was fired from 'Elvis: The Musical' for constantly going off script, he challenged his replacement to a duel (1978).
    In the early 80s, he announced his engagement to a fourteen year old girl, who he claimed to have been dating since she was ten.
    In the 80s, he was regularly drinking five bottles of bourbon a day. If he couldn't get bourbon, he would drink anything, including aftershave lotion or shoe polish strained through bread.
    Producer Kim Fowley said, 'Proby's life was a mixture of Caligula and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' -- without the picture.'
    Before leaving for England, he recorded demo records for Elvis Presley.
    Rock critic Nik Cohn called him 'with James Brown, the most electrifying performer I ever saw' and wrote, 'As a ballad singer, he outclassed Sinatra.'
    He noted about the incidents that got him banned, 'These days Iggy Pop gets his tackle out on television and nobody pays any attention.'
    His album 'Three Week Hero' (1969) was the first record on which the four members of Led Zeppelin played together.
    He quit drinking after suffering a heart attack and near death experience (1992).
    Van Morrison recorded a song called 'Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby?'
    He said, 'I reached rock bottom more times than I care to remember. But I never stayed down. I always bounced back up again.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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