Tommy Roe, ’60s Pop Star: Quadruple Bypass Surgery

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Tommy Roe (bottom right) with the Beatles and singer Chris Montez

Tommy Roe, who scored six top 10 singles during the ’60s, two of them—“Sheila” (1962) and “Dizzy” (1969)—reaching #1, had quadruple bypass surgery on Friday, July 27. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement.

His official Facebook page quoted the singer on July 24: “This is something that came out of left field, and totally unexpected for me and my family. However, I am so fortunate we found the problem early. I feel confident I will be back to a normal lifestyle very soon.”

Following the procedure, his daughter Cindy wrote: “Dad’s in recovery he will remain there for a couple hours and then to ICU!!!”

On July 29 came more good news via his daughter: “Dad’s doing good a little sore but he’s up in the chair eating and he will walk again in a little while, taking it one day at a time, baby steps. Thank you all for your continued prayers, he’s very thankful for the outpouring of love!”

And on July 31, she shared even better news: “Update on Dad. Dr said he can go home tomorrow if all is well. He’s doing great so he should be home by tomorrow afternoon!! He texted me this morning:

“I can go home tomorrow.. yeah 🎶”.”

“Thank you for continued prayers for a speedy recovery, He’s doing great!!”

Roe also scored with the hits “Everybody” (1963), “Sweet Pea” (1966), “Hooray for Hazel” (1966) and “Jam Up Jelly Tight” (1969). He issued the following statement on Feb. 8:

“Today I am announcing my retirement. I have so many great memories of the music and of my fans who have supported me through the years. Fifty-five years, to be exact. What a gift it has been for me to share this time with you. I hope my music will continue to bring a smile to your hearts and joy to your life. With Ron’s help, I will stay in touch through our Facebook page. But for now I am stepping out of the spotlight from scheduled concerts and interviews. Thank you again for your loyal support. I love you all, and may God Bless you. Tommy”

An ad for Roe’s ‘Dizzy’ album ran in Record World on March 22, 1969, the same week that the title cut hit #1

A Facebook post on July 24, prior to the surgery, quoted his daughter, Cindy: “Thank you for all the prayers, keep them coming please!”

Roe was born May 9, 1942. His retirement brings to an end a career that has lasted more than five decades. The Atlanta-born singer was one of the rare solo male American pop stars whose career not only survived the British onslaught but thrived during it.

In fact, the Beatles were fans of his, and shared a bill with him on a 21-day tour of the U.K. during 1963. Roe’s popularity in England was such that he moved there for several years even while cranking out the hits. In addition to the six top 10s, he placed 21 other singles on the Billboard charts, the last being a cover of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” in 1973.

Related: What were some of the big chart hits of 1966?

Roe released his most recent album, Confectioner’s, last year, and also published his memoir, From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown.

In announcing his retirement, Roe joins a growing list of rock artists who’ve announced their full or partial retirement since the start of 2018, among them Elton John, Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and Ozzy Osbourne.

Watch Tommy Roe sing “Dizzy”

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