Singer. Songwriter. Session Guitarist. Record Producer. Label Owner. The list of women who have many of these titles to their credit isn’t very long. That Bonnie Guitar was all of them in the fifties and sixties, in the days when women were lucky to get a spin on the radio, is nothing short of amazing.
Bonnie was born a West Coast girl in Seattle, Washington, and she would remain her association with the Pacific side of America once she moved to Los Angeles, her base of operation during her impressive career run. Her first job was as a studio session player, and she earned her last name playing guitar on records by Jim Reeves and Ferlin Husky.
Soon, she got her own turn at the mike, and had a big hit in 1957 with “Dark Moon”, which was a surprise crossover hit. That exposure led to her appearances on many variety shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show. She used her success to establish her own label, Dolphin Records. After renaming it Dolton Records, she signed The Fleetwoods, a teenage group that quickly released the smash hit “Mr. Blue.”