Roy Head's "Treat Her Right"

Somersaulting off the stage—in a buttoned-up double-breasted suit.

Texan Roy Head had several small and regional hits and one really big one: “Treat Her Right”, a single that was second only to the Beatles' “Yesterday” at its peak on the U.S. charts. The chorus doesn’t come until the very end, but what a chorus, and it’s well worth the wait through the long slow burn leading up to it. The song remains an R&B standard for many bar bands, at least among the hipper ones.

Head, who surprised more than one interviewer and concert venue by being white when he showed up, was and still is known for a wild stage show, as the following video amply demonstrates.

As he described in a recent interview, many of the moves that may look like they came from James Brown actually come from Jackie Wilson, a big influence on Brown, Head, Michael Jackson, and many others. YouTube has another version of Head doing “Treat Her Right” whose slower burn and slightly different arrangement leads me to believe that it’s a live performance and not lip synching.

In the same interview, he mentioned a son named Sundance that had gotten pretty far on American Idol and is still successful. I asked my wife and daughters about him, and my wife said “his parents are hippies or something”. The video above demonstrates otherwise, but naming your kid “Sundance Head” could give that impression. (It turns out that this is just a nickname, and his real first name is the more prosaic “Jason”.) My younger daughter insisted that I had seen Sundance on the show, but I don’t pay very close attention to Simon, Paula, et. al. so I don’t remember.

The same daughter likes very little of the music that I do and is suspicious of anything in black and white that doesn’t star Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, but when I showed her the video above she said “Wow, the father is so much better.”

To quote Johnny Drama from Entourage: “Victory!”