Texas-born Bob Kelly is a Las Vegas staple, and still in the studio every day at the age of 80. His skills as a guitar player, vocalist, engineer, and businessman have served him well throughout over 7 decades in the music business.
Starting with two 1Track recorders at the age of 15, Bob began singing and playing guitar. His first published songs were written when he was 17. Coming from a family where his mother and aunts regularly sang in 3 part harmonies to entertain the family until 1am, music has run through Bob’s blood since day 1.
At North Texas State College, he trained some of his Fraternity brothers, from PKA, to sing harmonies on the songs he wrote, and thus Bob Kelly & The Pikes were born with the name serving as an homage to his Fraternity.
In 1957 he headed west, and worked at the newlyopened Disneyland as a pirate, honing his public performance skills and having a ball throughout Hollywood. Sitting in on the editorial sessions for films such as “Old Yeller,” Bob’s knowledge of how the film business worked continued to develop, along with his songwriting.
Shortly after, Bob went back to school and studied acting, reaching a high point when he appeared in the famous stage play “Operation Mad Ball” opposite the legendary Sal Mineo.
While in Texas, he worked as a DJ for legendary station WRR, and subsequently opened his recording studio, “Top Ten Recording Studio”. After hearing the talents of Jerry Brown, Jay Ramsey, and Mack Clayton, he put together the band Expression, joining up himself as a vocalist & songwriter.
Expression played throughout the continental US and Canada, with a tour starting in Vancouver and running through Dallas, Oklahoma City, with many stops in California and Virginia. The band also played the Playboy Club circuit, hitting every venue across the US, from Chicago to Los Angeles.
While playing at a show in Detroit, they encountered a local Canadian band from across the river who were going by “The Expressions.” To avoid any confusion, and out of respect for Bob’s act which predated their own, that band changed their name to The Guess Who.
By 68’ the Expressions owned Vegas, playing at every venue throughout Nevada owned by legendary developer Del Webb. They were staples at The Sahara and The Sands, alternating nights with such luminaries as Don Rickles and Count Basie.
Bob has remained an important part of the music scene in Las Vegas, and Jay Ramsey still plays regular shows. It’s not uncommon to catch Bob at Jay’s shows, or to see him hanging on The Strip with his friends. He’s still active in the studio, and is one of Fervor’s most prolific artists.