November 6, 1941: Doug Sahm Born

Share This:

ds1-300He came into the world as Douglas Wayne Sahm on November 6, 1941 in San Antonio, TX, and is best known for his #13 1965 pop hit “She’s About a Mover” as leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet, and then some 35 years later as a member of the Grammy-winning Texas Tornados along with Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez and Augie Meyers. Around and in between, he played and recorded a full range of American musical styles during his life.

A steel guitar prodigy as a youngster, he performed with Hank Williams at the country music legend’s last show ever and was asked to join the Grand Ole Opry at age 11. Later in his teens Sahm played blues in San Antonio nightclubs while releasing pop singles on local labels.

After the British Invasion hit America, Texas producer Huey Meaux tried to cash in on the latest rage by giving Sahm’s group with Meyers the English-sounding name Sir Douglas Quintet. Sahm spent the late 1960s immersed in the San Francisco Bay Area scene recording and performing rock, pop, blues, R&B and jazz – and scoring a #27 hit as the Sir Douglas Quintet with “Mendocino” – before returning to his home state of Texas, where he became an elder statesman on the booming Austin, TX music scene.

Watch the Sir Douglas Quintet perform “Mendocino” on Playboy After Dark

Signed to Atlantic Records in 1973 by producer Jerry Wexler, he cut the critically acclaimed Doug Sahm and His Band album that featured guests like Bob Dylan, Dr. John and David Bromberg.

Never driven by commercial considerations, Sahm had an encyclopedic knowledge of American roots musical styles and natural feel for them all. That fed into his Tex-Mex “supergroup” the Texas Tornados that found popularity with country and Latin audiences and won a Grammy in 1991 for Best Mexican-American Performance. He died in 1999 from an undiagnosed congenital heart condition, and is the subject of a 2015 documentary film, Sir Doug & the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove (see BCB’s review here).

Best Classic Bands Staff

4 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. Wes
    #1 Wes 6 November, 2019, 10:36

    I believe he passed away in 1999.

    Reply this comment
  2. Da Mick
    #2 Da Mick 7 November, 2021, 09:38

    While I had some recordings of his as a young-in, there was so much in this article that I didn’t know about him. So, thanks!

    That said, it’s hard to fathom how a musician with Sahm’s pedigree flew largely under the radar for many music fans nation-wide. Texas has always had it’s own music culture, and probably more regional stars than any other state or area, And while a number of these regional stars can get quite renowned in their area, only a few of these have broken out into the national spotlight. This was especially true back in Sahm’s day.

    Reply this comment
  3. Mac
    #3 Mac 7 November, 2023, 07:14

    It’s interesting that he was a steel guitar prodigy. Years later it was Augie Meyers that was the player in most of Sahm’s bands. It’s hard to say which iteration I liked best. They were all wonderful.

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.