7 On Your Side has learned Spartanburg music legend Joe Bennett, of the group “Joe Bennett and The Sparkletones”, has died.
His daughter, Lindsay Bennett of Spartanburg, posted a message concerning his death late Saturday night with the words, “Father, my father. I love you. Endlessly, forever and a day….Sleep now and rest in peace.”
Our coverage partners at the Spartanburg Herald Journal say Bennett died at Rainey Hospice House in Anderson.
In 1957, their hit song, “Black Slacks,” hit number 17 on the Billboard charts and propelled the group to stardom. Bennett co-wrote the song. It stayed on the charts for four months.
They had another hit song, “Penny Loafers and Bobby Socks,” that also charted in 1957.
“Black Slacks” was also featured in the Disney movie “The Rescuers Down Under”.
According to the band’s website, the group performed twice on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, plus “American Bandstand” and “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour”.
A CBS talent agent who discovered the group in Spartanburg at the Memorial Auditorium in January of 1957, Bob Cox, later became the group’s manager.
The group of four teens had none older than 16 and one as young as 13 when they started.
The Spartanburg Music Trail includes a marker honoring Joe Bennett and his group.
The group is also honored in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
In his later years, Bennett was sought out locally as a guitar teacher.
Joe Bennett was 75 years old.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be set at this time.