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Joe Bob West

Posted 2022-09-14 by mhenderson
Published by The Miner on Sep. 13, 2022 -
Kingman, Arizona -

It is with heavy hearts we share with Buddy Holly fans and Rockabilly
a?cionados that our Dad, Sonny West, most notably the songwriter of “Oh
Boy” and “Rave On,” passed away Sept. 8, 2022, at the age of 85, in
Grove, Oklahoma.

Sonny West was born as Joe Bob West in west Texas on July 30, 1937 to
Joseph and Alberta West. He lived in Grove, Oklahoma the last two years
of his life. Sonny continued to write songs throughout the years. He was
a man of many talents though, being a self-taught silversmith and artist
of beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry inspired by the Native Navajo
and Zuni American Tribes of New Mexico. Sonny was also an inventor.

He single-handedly manufactured vinyl record needles for jukeboxes
around the world. In more recent years, Sonny was a maker of several
styles of guitars showcasing that special sound of a bygone era. Many of
us in Sonny’s world, felt he was there at the very beginning of real
Rock-n-Roll music, and fortunately crossed paths with Buddy Holly at
just the right time, when they were mere teenagers. And now, he is one
of the last to close out that era.

Before his songs made the Billboard charts with Buddy Holly’s rendition,
Sonny had recorded the double-sided 45 record “Rock-ola Ruby” and “Sweet
Rockin’ Baby” in 1956. These songs are considered by many to be the
beginning of the Rockabilly genre, which of course led to what we now
know as Rock-n-Roll music. Sonny is one of the original inductees of the
Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the West Texas Musicians Hall of Fame, and is a
recipient of BMI’s Million Airplays Award.

His songs have been recorded by scores of artists and featured in dozens
of television shows, ?lms, documentaries and television ads. Until
recently, Sonny performed in live shows in Europe and the U.S.,
entertaining fans with his well-known classics. He was proud to be a
part of the rich history; his music had been an integral part of. He is
survived by one sister, two daughters, Diana Bickman (Daniel) and Sandy
Haynes (Ron) all of Grove, Oklahoma; two stepsons, a stepdaughter, four
grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in
death by his wife, Dottie.

A closed casket visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept.
13, 2022, at Nichols Stephens Funeral & Cremation Services, Grove,
Oklahoma. Burial will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 at
Chillicothe Cemetery in Chillicothe, Texas. A public “Rave On”
Celebration of Music will also be planned for Nov. 13, 2022, in
northeast Oklahoma. For information about attending please email:, In lieu of ?owers, please send support to
the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. (

Arrangements entrusted to Nichols-Stephens Funeral and Cremation

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