OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 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.





3 thoughts on “Almost Famous—Hoppy Bennett and the Esquires by Johnny W. Sumrall Jr

  1. Sonny Findley

    This record (and the B side) where actually written by Bill Findley (Name Bill Finley in parens right under the song title on both sides as you can see in the photo). Bill is my father and the publishing for these songs list him as the writer.

    1. Johnny W. Sumrall Jr

      Sonny, I am sorry I failed to list your father Bill Findley. Jay Stricker ,Lane Dinkins and James “Hoppy” Bennett failed to mention that fact. I did not pick up on it when I took a picture of the record.

      1. FYI… Lane Dinkins just passed away this week. I was fortunate to work with him for the last 30 years. Quite a character and never will there be another. He will be so greatly missed. I’ve been trying for YEARS to get a copy of this song. Please email me jeff @ soundandcom.com if you have access to such.

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