Gary S. Paxton

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Gary S. Paxton was one of several young songwriters and producers to emerge from the Los Angeles pop scene of the late '50s. Half of the duo Skip & Flip, alongside future Byrds member Skip Battin,…
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Gary S. Paxton was one of several young songwriters and producers to emerge from the Los Angeles pop scene of the late '50s. Half of the duo Skip & Flip, alongside future Byrds member Skip Battin, Paxton then joined Kim Fowley in the Hollywood Argyles, and scored a U.S. number one with the novelty disc "Alley-Oop" in May of 1960. The two entrepreneurs then put a series of faceless groups together in an attempt to repeat the success, while Paxton also founded several record labels, including Garpax, on which Bobby "Boris" Pickett's million-selling "Monster Mash" was first issued. Paxton later grew interested in country music, and by the mid-'60s was heavily involved in the California scene centered on Bakersfield, before moving to Nashville and finally Branson, Missouri. His personal life was marked by scandal and institutionalization, and he was even shot by hitmen in 1980, after which he retreated from the music business for a number of years. By then, however, his career had already been marked by considerable success as a songwriter and Grammy-winning gospel artist. He continued to perform into the new millennium -- adopting the persona of the masked Grandpa Rock (aka His Weirdness) -- prior to his death in Branson in July 2016 at the age of 77.