PALM DESERT, Calif. – Jimmie Rodgers, singer of the 1957 hits “Honeycomb” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” whose career in music and movies was disrupted by a severe head injury a decade later, has died at age 87.
Rodgers died from kidney disease on Jan. 18 in Palm Desert, California, and had also tested positive for COVID-19, publicist Alan Eichler said Saturday, citing family.
Rodgers performed for $10 a night around Nashville while stationed there with the U.S. Air Force after the Korean War. He appeared on a talent show and got an audition with Roulette Records, which signed him after hearing him perform “Honeycomb,” a song by Bob Merrill.
With a style of singing and playing guitar that included elements of country, folk and pop, the Camas, Washington, native recorded many other Top 10 hits during the late 1950s, including “Secretly,” “Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again,” and “Are You Really Mine?”
Rodgers continued making albums for the better part of the 1960s, producing music that ranged from covering traditional songs like “The Wreck Of The 'John B.'” and “English Country Garden” to popular fare such as the ballad “Child of Clay.”
He had established himself on television variety shows when he moved into acting in movies during the 1960s. His film credits included “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come” and “Back Door to Hell” with a young Jack Nicholson.