In this excerpt, former manager and wrestler Gary Hart wrote about the time Dusty Rhodes showcased a talent unbeknownst to some – singing with the third installment from of our ‘Playboy’ Gary Hart Series here on Pro Wrestling Stories.
There’s just something about Dusty Rhodes singing and dancing with Bob Armstrong, Jerry Brisco and Don Muraco that brings a smile to our face.
Former Manager and Wrestler Gary Hart on his Side Hustle T-Shirt Business with Dusty Rhodes
“During the summer of 1974, Dusty Rhodes and I went into the T-shirt business together. Yes, we were in the midst of a heated feud throughout the state of Florida – but in reality – we were very tight. We invested $250 apiece and printed up “Dusty Rhodes” T-shirts. Dusty then sold them out of the back of his white 1972 El Dorado. It had stars and stripes down the sides, and across the front, it said, “The American Dream.” It was very noticeable, and when he pulled up at an arena, people would rush his car to meet him. Then, when he would open his trunk, people would see the T-shirts and ask if they could buy one. He would tell them to speak to some friend of his and leave him there to sell every single one. We printed up these T-shirts in secret because wrestlers weren’t allowed to sell concessions, and over a period of six weeks – before Eddie Graham caught on and made us stop – Dusty and I made $2,500 selling shirts out of the back of his trunk!
That’s when Dusty and I decided to go into the concert promoting business. We would take the $2,500 that we made on our T-shirt venture, and invest it in a rock concert at the Fort Hesterly Armory featuring Dusty Rhodes. I tried to talk him into booking Bobby “Blue” Bland for $1,000, because that would leave us $1,500 to rent the arena and promote the concert. However, Dusty took an affront to that, and made it clear that he didn’t need Bobby “Blue” Bland to “support” him – he wanted to headline the concert on his own!”
Former Manager and Wrestler Gary Hart on The American Dream’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival
“Actually, my idea was to have Bobby headline the show, and just have Dusty come out as a guest for a couple of songs! Somehow, Dusty assumed I was suggesting Bobby “Blue” Bland play backup for Dusty Rhodes! After nixing Bobby’s involvement, Dusty insisted that we promote “The American Dream’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival,” and I figured that just might work. “The American Dream” was huge in Tampa – and Dusty always loved to sing. He and Dick Murdoch would go out, have a few beers, and get up and sing at the bars in Tampa on a pretty regular basis. In fact, a young kid named Terry Bollea used to play bass in local Tampa bands at the time, and he backed up Dusty and Dick on more than one occasion. Terry Bollea grew up to be, of course, Hulk Hogan.
Dusty and I booked the show for Sunday night, October 6, 1974, and set about putting together a backing band for him. We budgeted $500 for the musicians – and they were pretty good. Dusty then recruited Bob Armstrong, Mike Graham, Jerry Brisco, Don Muraco, and Steve Keirn – dubbed The Outlaws – to be his backup singers. Unfortunately, they couldn’t sing or dance – but they never claimed they could. Dusty and I worked up a pretty good set list, with songs like “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues” by Jim Croce, “Okie From Muskogee” by Merle Haggard, “Long, Black Limousine,” by Elvis Presley, and songs by David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings thrown in for good measure. We advertised the concert in newspapers and posters around town – and hoped that “The American Dream” could pack ‘em in.
I couldn’t be at the concert that night because Dusty and I were feuding. So at 8:30 p.m. – thirty minutes after the concert started – I told my wife I was going to drive by the Fort Hesterly Armory, take a look at the parking lot, and get a sense of the turnout. Imagine my surprise when I saw there were about one-hundred-and-twenty cars in the parking lot! At that point, I realized that either we didn’t do a very good job of promoting the concert, or nobody cared about hearing Dusty sing. I spoke to Dusty after the concert, and he blamed the poor turnout on the office, reasoning that if they would have allowed us to promote it on the TV show – we would have had a sellout. Dusty wasn’t upset, though, and had a great time that night – and I guess that was the most important thing. In fact – for all you hardcore collectors out there – there’s a videotape of that concert floating around out there somewhere featuring Dusty Rhodes up there singing and dancing.”
Unfortunately, we have not been able to track down footage of this performance, however here’s a video of Dusty singing ‘Dusty B. Good’ in 1989, for good measure!
Former manager and wrestler Gary Hart died on March 16, 2008, following a heart attack at his home in Euless, Texas, after returning from an autograph session in Pennsylvania. On April 5, 2008, Peach State Pandemonium, an internet wrestling program, aired a two-hour tribute program in the memory of Hart.
Related: For more in our Gary Hart series check out:
SOURCE: The Autobiography of former wrestler Gary Hart, ‘My Life In Wrestling…With A Little Help From My Friends‘