Best remembered for his 1957 hit "Stone Heart," singer Donnie Bowshier remains a little-known if unique figure in the annals of rockabilly -- a childhood battle with polio left him confined to a wheelchair throughout his three-decade career. Born in Madison Mills, OH, on April 14, 1937, he began his performing career in middle school, and by 14 was sharing the stage with the Sons of the Pioneers at the Ohio State Fair. He also played with Hank Williams, and with backing band the Radio Ranch Boys headlined local radio station WJEL's Saturday night broadcast schedule. Browshier cut his King label debut, "Tight Shoe Boogie," in mid-1953 -- despite strong regional airplay, the record sold poorly and he did not resurface until four years later, landing with the Dess label for "Stone Heart."
Though never the breakout hit many predicted, "Stone Heart" was nevertheless licensed for release on four other labels, including Marty Robbins' eponymous imprint, over the next several years; one of those labels, Sage, also issued the follow-up, "It's Our Secret," credited to Donnie Bowser after the singer finally tired of broadcasters mangling the pronunciation of his surname. After another long hiatus from the studio, Bowser turned up on Bamboo for 1961's "Tomorrow" -- he recorded even more sporadically in the years to follow, performing a duet with Bobby Bare on "Another One of My Near Mrs." and cracking the country charts with "Falling for You," but remained a popular live attraction, even appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. Bowser retired in 1989 following a heart attack -- another heart attack ended his life on March 1, 2002.