Friday, January 20, 2012

Love Me Tender '69

Herman Schmerdley

Love Me Tender '69

Guitar Accompaniment by Hereas Schlumberger

Freeway Records

Herman : "I left Louisville, KY on April 2, 1956. I moved to Los Angeles. I started a record company in L.A. that same year. I did not release any records until about 1963. My label was called Freeway Records. I never had a hit."

Tom Willett (nickname Herman Schmerdley), height 1.93 m, was born in Chenault, Kentucky in the 1930s. He grew up in Hammond, Indiana. His grade school was Lafayette on Calumet Av. He moved to Andyville, Kentucky at age 14 and dropped out of high school.

Tom helped with the family farm which also had a poolroom and beer bar. He enjoyed listening to the country and popular music radio stations and enjoyed singing along with the songs. As rock and Roll began to evolve from the Country and Rhythm and Blues, Tom became a big fan.

At age 16 the family moved to Louisville. Tom got a job in a service station pumping gas into the cars of that day. Gas cost 22 cents per gallon in 1955. A new Chevy would set you back about $1600. Tom saved up $400 and moved to Los Angeles at age 17 with the idea of getting into the movies.

23 years later Tom appeared as an extra in his first movie Smash (1979)with Dean Paul Martin. Soon after that 1979 beginning, Tom had appeared in more than 100 feature films as an extra. Then he got his big break.

"Dear John" (1988) became a successful TV series and Tom worked as a cast member for the entire run of 4 years on NBC TV.

Tom also has enjoyed success as a radio announcer, musician, songwriter and stand up comic.

☆ ☆ ☆

Tom Willett, quite a character, has an extensive "digital" presence on his own websites one is HERE, on Youtube, on Flickr. All worth to check it out.

On his latest CDs is titled "5 Decades of Recording and STILL NO HITS!"

Dynamic Sound Studios in Las Vegas. L to R. : Dick Richards, Gene Burch, Tom Willett, Johnny Cassata and Huey Meaux, (1965 or 1966)



  1. Thanks I had Freeway as from NV not CA. He also had "Folsom Prison Blues" on SCHMAPITOL (CA) label states a divesion of Freeway (Capitol division lol) so I should have guessed No Year for this one. Guess this is 1969. Are you lonesome tonight (1966) Freeway 3. Freeway 2 = Mona Lisa (1965) Likes his cover versions then. Collector CD 4485 has him as Tom Willett doing "Come on home (& sing The Blues For Daddy) no idea of original label or year. Hope this useless trifia helps someone

  2. This is the best, someone actually turning their back on a good stage name to create one that precludes ever having a hit. Wonderful, a true rebel for his time - move over James Dean. I'm betting his accompanist Hereas Schlumberger is also none other than Tom, just a a hunch.

  3. Thanks, Guys. I am Tom Willett, aka Herman Schmerdley. I released about a dozen vinyl records on various labels. Freeway was the first and the main one. I owned Freeway for about three decades total. I used the name Schmapitol and IMA Victim and Silver State. In 1988 I teamed with a guy named Mark and we had a label called Tomark and the CD we released was labeled Tommark with 2 letter Ms. I had two releases on CMH Records. One was a steel guitar album called Steelin' The Hits and the other was Ghost Gallery. I have many videos including songs at YouTube. I am Featureman there. My most viewed song video is I Want More Porn. I used to get airplay on Dr Demento. All is well for me. Hereas Schlumberger is a fellow I worked with. He played guitar on that song. He and I and a couple of other guys did a show at Nevada State Prison in 1971.