BIOGRAPHY of Wynn Stewart
The First Recording Contract
In February 1954, at the age of 20, Wynn signed his first recording contract with the independent label, Intro. He recorded "I've Waited a Lifetime" and "Strolling". His big break came when the single caught the attention of Skeets McDonald, whom he met on the set of a local Sunday afternoon TV show. McDonald, a true godfather of the west coast hard country scene, set up an audition for Wynn with his label, Capitol Records. Legend has it that Wynn sung over the phone to Ken Nelson, Capitol's A&R man, and was offered a contract on the spot.
In 1956, Wynn made several records for Capitol Records, including his first hit, "Waltz of the Angels" and "The Keeper of the Key" (which he co-wrote), with Skeets McDonald and his orchestra backing him up. Eddie Cochran played on guitar. "Waltz of the Angels" was released on 7/21/56 and spent one week at number 14 on the country charts; the single was later a hit for George Jones and Margie Singleton.
"Waltz of the Angels" was also recorded by Lefty Frizzell. (Columbia 21530 (78rpm), 4-21530 (45rpm) (Released 6/4/56)). With both artists competing against each other with the same song, neither one of them had great sucess with it.
At the time, many country artists were going pop, which infuriated Wynn. Switching to rock 'n' roll and trying to create "cross-over" records was like a betrayal of his country heritage. After two years and 4 more singles, Wynn left Capitol Records.
(Click here to read the story of how Wynn
helped kick-start Buck Owen's career)