In 1964 The Surgeon General of The United States issued a report stating that smoking is bad for you. James “Hoppy” Bennett took that as an opportunity to write a the song “Smoking is Bad for You”. Hoppy Bennett and The Esquires went to Bob McRee’s recording studio on Ellis Avenue , Jackson, MS and recorded the song as a 45 rpm. The flip side of the record was entitled “Nicotine Fit”.
It was an instant hit locally and they appeared on the WJTV morning news program lip-syncing the song. The song was videotaped and sent to Mike Wallace at CBS Morning News in New York and shown on national television.
Life magazine called and wanted a group picture of the band for a feature article. Photographer Jimmy Lucas met the band at local radio station WRBC one Sunday Night and took the picture. They were scheduled to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show;, The Beatles arrived in the U. S. and the segment was dropped. Life magazine dropped their article in favor of one on The Beatles. The band drifted apart after that.
Members of the band: included James “Hoppy” Bennett, Keyboard; Lane Dinkins, Drums; Bennett Jennings, Bass; Odie Kelly, Guitar; Jay Stricker, Saxophone; and Arnold Richardson, Trumpet. Hoppy sang lead and Bennett Jennings sang the low part (“The doctors all say it puts the hurt on you”).
I want to thank James “Hoppy” Bennett, Lane Dinkins and Jay Stricker for verifying the accuracy of these details.