Route 66 News

The original Fabulous Thunderbirds

Before the Fabulous Thunderbirds formed in Texas in the 1970s, there was another Fabulous Thunderbirds rock band out of New Mexico during the mid-1960s.

According to one well-researched online source, the Thunderbirds’ version of Bobby Troup’s song was released in 1965 on Red Feather Records in Albuquerque:

More from

Legend has it that Jimmie Vaughn chose the name for his band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, from a very obscure album he had come across in his youth. I would have to assume that this it. Anyway, these Thunderbirds are comprised of Ricky Abeita, lead guitar, vocal and band leader; Willam Carl Johnson – rhythm guitar and vocal; Mike Jiron, bass; and Herman Lucero, drums. All were between the ages of 15 and 17 when this album was cut. Here’s what the liner notes say about them:

“HERE THEY ARE..the four American Indian boys who have combined their talents to form one of the country’s most interesting and exciting rock ‘n’ roll groups..called THE THUNDERBIRDS.. Red Feather Records takes great pride in presenting this new and unusual group..We know you will enjoy this album and hope you agree that these..the first Americans..are well on their way to becoming first in rock ‘n’ roll music.”

The Thunderbirds were from the Isleta Pueblo village, 13 miles from Albuqueque.

I also found it interesting the band excised Kingman from the original lyrics in favor of Seligman, Ariz.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: