LISTEN TO BOOMTOWN RADIO! “ALL the Music That Matters for the Generation That Created Rock 'n' Roll”

Shelley Fabares: The Reluctant Pop Star

One of the most unlikely of pop stars was Shelley Fabares, who parlayed her role on The Donna Reed Show into a #1 record!

Shelley had been acting since she was 3 and made her first television appearance at age 10. Four years later she was tapped to play Mary Stone, Donna Reed’s daughter on the long-running sitcom. Producers of the show noticed the success Ricky Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was having on the record charts. What they didn’t notice was that Ricky had genuine musical talent, with a big band leader for a father and a singer for mother.

Ms. Fabares and her TV-sibling, Paul Petersen, were quickly rushed into a recording studio. Petersen went enthusiastically, even continuing to record for Motown (!) after The Donna Reed Show ended. Shelley was much more reluctant. She felt she couldn’t sing, but the show’s producers gave her a choice: record or be replaced as Donna’s daughter. So, Shelley recorded.

The initial result was a #1 record in 1962 that surprised everyone – “Johnny Angel.” The success led to Shelley releasing an album, “Shelley!” that also sold well. Later the same year, she released a second album, “The Things We Did Last Summer,” which included two more songs that had chart success: “Johnny Loves me” and the title track for the LP.

Just one year later, Shelley left the show in search of other acting opportunities. She co-starred in not one, but 3 Elvis Presley movies (Girl Happy, Spinout and Clambake) and one Beach Party knock-off, Ride the Wild Surf.

She is also known for playing Craig Nelson’s girlfriend/wife on the long-running Coach. She has been married to Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H) since 1984.

While she never returned to the recording studio, “Johnny Angel” has become one of the best-remembered songs from that era and her albums are still available on CD and digital download.

Pop Up Player

Latest Posts–Music

  • The 40 Year Vacation Is Over – ABBA Is Back!
    In what may be the longest gap between albums, Swedish pop superstars, ABBA have announced the release of their first new studio album in 40 years. Voyage will be released the first week of November.…
    Read more...
  • The Best Paul McCartney Album You Never Heard
    Think you know Paul McCartney’s solo career pretty well? We bet there’s one album of his you don’t know. That’s because it wasn’t released in America. Or England. Or Japan. Or anywhere except…Russia! The year…
  • R.I.P. Charlie Watts (1941-2021)
    No sooner had we absorbed the news of the passing of Don Everly, then we were saddened again to learn of the death of the Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts. He passed away at the…
  • R.I.P. Don Everly (1937-2021)
    It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of one of rock & roll’s pioneers. Don Everly, half of the legendary singing duo, the Everly Brothers, passed away this weekend at the age…
  • Now It Can Be Told!
    Sadly, still waiting for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...   Somebdy want to card that kid on the left. I don't think he's old enough to be in the nightclub.
  • The Story Behind the Song: “Midnight Train to Georgia”
    Farrah Fawcett sold a lot of posters in the 1970’s, but did you know she also inspired a multi-million dollar song? It’s true! Her offhand comment inspired composer Jim Weatherly to write “Midnight Train to…