Reference Entry

Helms, Bobby

Michael R. Pitts

in American National Biography Online

Published online April 2001 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Helms, Bobby (15 August 1936–19 June 1997), singer and songwriter, was born Robert Lee Helms in Bloomington, Indiana, the son of Fred R. Helms and Hildreth “Helen” Adams Helms. At an early age he showed a talent for music, and by the mid-1940s he and his older brother Freddy were singing as a duo called the Smiling Boys on WTTS, a local radio station. Their father founded a weekend stage show, “The Monroe County Jamboree,” to showcase his sons, and in 1949 they were featured on “The Happy Valley Show” on WTTV, Channel 4, in Indianapolis. The next year they became regulars on that station's “Hayloft Frolics.” When his brother left the act in 1953, “Bouncing” Bobby Helms, as he was known, went solo and joined the Bob Hardy Country Show. The show toured the tri-state area of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, where Helms developed a big following. He married Esther Marie Hendrickson in 1953, and in 1955 he recorded four original songs for Speed Records....

Reference Entry.  1442 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Composition ; Voice

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