Danny and The Velaires

Danny and The Velaires

The Velaires started their rock and roll careers in Sioux City, Iowa as The Screamers. Soon after, they changed their name to The Flairs, However, after playing in the legendary Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines, and with numerous groups on the scene with that same name, they became The Velaires.

The band consisted of Daniel Matousek on rhythm guitar, Bob Dawdy on lead guitar, Jerry DeMers on bass and Don Bourret on drums. The fifth Velaire was their full time manager and booking agent, Dan's older brother, Dick Matousek.

In 1961, as The Flaires, they released their cover of Chuck Berry's classic, “Roll Over Beethoven” on Palm Records. Later in 1961, as The Velaires, they signed with Jamie Records and again released "Roll Over Beethoven".

The record leapt onto Billboard's charts and was a national hit reaching #1 in Los Angeles. It is reckoned to be the highest selling cover of “Roll Over Beethoven”, ever.

While "Roll Over Beethoven" was on the charts, The Velaires had the opportunity to appear on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in Philadelphia being the only Iowa based group to have ever done so. They also joined the Caravan of Stars for a time.

They would follow “Roll Over Beethoven” with eight more releases on such labels as Jamie Records, Mercury Records, Palm Records, Ramco Records and Brent Records. Other releases on Jamie Records included their cover of “Dream” (Johnny Mercer) and “Ubangi Stomp” (Earl Bostic)

The original members would stay together until 1963 when Dan Matousek would reform the group and continue on until 1970 under the name of Danny and The Velaires.

In the photo are the original members, left to right: Bob Dawdy, guitar; Gary Kimble St. Martin, drums; George Norman, bass; Danny Matousek, guitar and lead vocals; Carolyn Chipman (later, Carolyn Matousek, vocals.

This band recorded in 1966 in Omaha several originals that received ample airplay, but never charted after "Roll Over Beethoven." Gary Kimble St. Martin left in 1967 to join Iowa Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame group, Greg Scott and The Embers.

In 1997, much deserved recognition came their way when Germany’s Bear Family Records released on CD their Greatest Hits/Anthology, “The Screamers, To Flairs, To Velaires”.

Dan Matousek passed away in May of 1998 just a few days prior of a scheduled performance of the group at the DanceMor Ballroom in Swisher, Iowa.

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