Wendy Bagwell (May 16, 1925 - June 13, 1996)
Wendall Lee "Wendy" Bagwell was born in 1925 in Chamblee, Georgia, the son of Cajer and Arza Bagwell. After serving as a United States Marine where he was twice decorated for bravery, Bagwell returned home where at the age of 21, he adopted an abused nephew. In 1953, he formed Wendy Bagwell And The Sunliters. Their first major hit was a sentimental song called “Pearl Buttons.” Over the next 40 years, the group released more than 60 recordings. In 1968, they famously played at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Bagwell's group is best remembered for their 1970 release titled Here Come The Rattlesnakes. The title track featured Bagwell’s hilarious comedy routine about the Sunliters singing a date for a church that handled snakes in their worship services. It was the number one “song” on the Singing News chart from November 1970 to January 1971. In 1975, Bagwell released his first all-comedy album titled Bust Out Laffin on Canaan CAS-9765.
Bagwell was later hired to be a spokesman for Stanback brand headache powders in a television ad campaign. He became nationally known for his signature catch phrase “and that’s a fact with my hand up.” Some of his other comedy routines included “Ralph Bennett’s Volkswagen,” “Me, Old Ronnie, and the Monkey,” and “Pickin’ Up Paw Paws.” While carrying on a steady singing career, Bagwell also operated a furniture business in Hiram, Georgia.
Bagwell passed away in 1996 after undergoing surgery to repair a brain aneurysm. He was posthumously inducted into the SGMA Hall Of Fame in 1997 and into the GMA Hall Of Fame in 2001.
SGMA Hall Of Fame (1997)
GMA Hall Of Fame (2001)
Singing News Fan Awards:
Favorite Male Singer (1986)
1970 This That And The Other (Canaan Records/CAS-9679): Here Come The Rattlesnakes; They All Wore Wigs; Trouble In Europe; Pickin' Up Paw Paws; Then We Played Carnegie Hall.
1975 Bust Out Laffin’ (Canaan Records/CAS-9765): Ole Ralph Bennett's Volkswagen; Hard Times; Ten Days In Coronary Care; Preacher And The Dog; Rattlesnake Remedy.
1981 Known Comic (Canaan Records/CAS-9869): Anybody Seen My Teeth; Wendy's New York Tour; Odds And Ends; The Rattlesnake Story; Pickin' Up Paw Paws; Ole Ralph Bennett's Volkswagen.
1983 Three German Police Dogs (Canaan Records/CAS-9903): I've Got The Will; Three German Police Dogs; Sing Me A Good Ole Gospel Song; Ol' Myrtle Liggett; The Mysterious Man; The Bidding; You Better Cool It.
1986 And That’s A Fact With My Hand Up (Canaan Records/SPCN 7-01-995013-2): Ole Ralph Bennett's Volkswagen; The Bus Is On Fire; This Train; Here Come The Rattlesnakes.
1993 Laugh And A Half (Canaan Records/SPCN 7-01-952653-5): Hard Times; 10-4 On The Cotton Top; Ten Days In Coronary Care; Here Come The Rattlesnakes; Three German Police Dogs; The Bus Is On Fire; Wendy’s New Your Tour; Wendy’s Interview; Ole Ralph Bennett's Volkswagen.
God Said No
Old Bud Womack Died
The Little Country Preacher
The Lord's Gonna Smile On Me
Who Ate In The Cafeteria.