Welcome to the Official Web Site
for the one and only ORIGINAL,
This site contains the history past, present and future of the original car and song written by Charlie Ryan.
Charlie's 2000 Promo Video
Here it is! By popular request. The 2000 promo video that we showed at the 50th anniversary show in Cleveland. Charlie and I made this video at his request back in 2000 and he loved it. He often gave copies away at shows for promotion. We always wanted to do a proper full-length autobiography but never had the chance to finish it before he passed away. I have several hours of interviews with Charlie along with hundreds of photos that I would eventually like to make into a proper production. We had also started recording a 50th anniversary edition of Hot Rod Lincoln and I would love to finish that with some other folks if I can generate some interest. Charlie's vocal is "in the can" and I'm sure he'd be glad that a new version was released if we ever get that far.
50th Anniversary Hot-Rod-Lincoln Show a Success!
April 25th, 2008. Kent, Ohio - A capacity crowd of around 600 filled the Kent Stage Theatre to pay tribute to Charlie Ryan and the 50th anniversary of "Hot Rod Lincoln". Asleep at the wheel (pictured above) performed along with Commander Cody (below). Both bands played "Hot Rod Lincoln" to standing ovations. I was lucky enough to join AATW on stage for HRL and I could feel Charlie there. We also played Charlie's short bio video at the beginning of the show and people loved it. Pictured from left to right are: John Whitdby (Piano), David Miller (Bass Guitar), Ray Benson (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Jason Roberts (Fiddle/vocals), David Sanger (in back on Drums), Elizabeth McQueen (Vocals, guitar), Karl Bingle (ME!, Guitar) and Eddie Rivers (Steel Guitar). Asleep at the Wheel is a great band and has racked up 9 Grammy's over the years. It was a true privelege to meet and play with these folks and I can tell you they are genuinely as nice as they appear. Thanks!
We've been getting a ton of great e-mails over the past few days. I'll be posting a few here as time permits.
This picture/e-mail was sent in by Jim Knaus on 3/5/08.
I read, with enormous sadness, the obituary in our Montana paper on the late Charlie Ryan. It listed your website, which in turn gave me this email address.
My name is Jim Knaus, and I lived in Spokane (actually Hilliard) in 1948-49. My father, Carl Knaus, played on a local radio station with Charlie and usually on weekends at some place called the "State Line".
I have a nice 8 x 10" black & white photo of Charlie, my Dad and I believe an accordian player named Wes Pierce. I don't recall the name of the 4th person in the picture. If you would like to have a copy of the picture, kindly let me know and I'll have a copy made for you.
My Dad considered Charlie to be his closest friend, and I will never forget the visits by Charlie. He was always pleasant and never failed to give this young boy a moment of his time, pick out a tune on an old guitar my father had, or just spend a little time with me. At the time, they were offering flights in some now vintage World War II fighter planes out at Gieger field. Me, Charlie and my Dad went out there, and Charlie paid the $5.00 for me to fly in an old P-51 fighter. I don't have a clue who the pilot was, but I will never, ever forget the thrill of that moment, and I'm sure Charlie never forgot how he thrilled a young boy with the "ride of a lifetime".
A few years passed, and we had moved to Alberton, Montana, where my father was a Barber. (We had lived in Spokane because Dad was attending the Molar Barber College). The Lincoln family (Jerry & Marie, with sons Rex, Jack and Rodney) established and owned what is now the Lincoln's 10,000 Silver Dollar Bar located in Haugan, MT. Ironically, in 1955 when the hit song "Hot Rod Lincoln" came out Jerry Lincoln was killed in a high speed crash at the underpass near a place called the "Y", 9 miles west of Missoula. The original Silver Dollar Bar was located just west of Alberton at a place called Cherry Springs. After Jerry's death, it was moved to make room for the new Interstate highway and ultimately ended up in Haugan where it is today owned and operated by Rex Lincoln & his family.
I don't have any personal recall of Charlie's family, but I would greatly appreciate it if you would pass on my condolences for their great loss. I will never forget Charlie Ryan -- or what he meant to a young 10 year old boy and his father.
This e-mail was sent in on 2/23/08.
Karl - I heard with sadness on the XM Radio yesterday of Charlies passing last Saturday, I felt I needed to say thanks to someone, I'm an aging schoolteacher/football coach/guitar player, the guy who everyone counts on to get out the guitar when everyone is just sittin around after dinner to play a few songs. Every group has such a guy. The Hot Rod Lincoln is ALWAYS the most asked for song and has propelled me and the guys I play with to a small degree of local notoriety. I wonder if Charlie ever knew how many guys out there he inspired to not only play music, but to just keep on keepin on. Thanks more than we could really say ro Charlie and Ruth.
- Tom Gault Mammoth High School, Mammoth Lakes, CA
This e-mail was sent in from Kerry on 2/21/08.
Hi Karl, I was saddened to hear of Charlie Ryans passing...I had never met the man, but he was responsible for my twenty-five year musical career here in the pacific northwest. As a very young kid in Corvallis, Ore. I would walk across town to the music store and spend hours listening to "Hot Rod Lincoln" in their "listening room" where you could listen to a record you were thinking of buying. I couldn't afford the record, so I just hung out there and listened to it...almost every day after school. The store clerk got so tired of me being under foot and wearing out their headphones he finally just "gave" me the 45 if I promised to not come back for at least two weeks! Charlie's was the first record I ever owned. The monster guitar riff (for its time), and the story of the hot rod race had me hooked. I started my first band in jr. high (1964) with John Walk (G-prep music director - deceased) as a drummer and played for the next 25 years in and around the northwest. I've gotten old and slow and the drum throne is way too hard nowdays...so, taught myself guitar over the last couple years and having a great time with home recording.
If it had not been for Charlie Ryan and his "Hot Rod Lincoln" my life would have been just plain ol' daily grind, instead of twenty-five wonderful years as a working musician. Thank you Charlie, drive on!
Thank you too Mr. Bingle, for keeping the flame lit. Kerry.
This e-mail was sent in from Steve Stevens on 2/20/08.
I have known Charlie and his family since 1966.
I met Charlie working for my Dad's construction Co. We became fast friends. Charlie, Ruthie and my wife spent many happy hours together. I later became great friends with Charlie's son Charles, or better known as "Joe". Joe and I worked many years on the road together and would often meet up with Charlie and Ruthie.
Over the years working with Charlie, going to places he was playing, knowing his immediate family and numerous grandchildren has been a large part of our lives. We saw Charlie and Ruthie last summer playing a benefit for a cancer patient in Spirit Lake Idaho. It was just like he was 40 again.
The one impression I always had of Charlie was that "He wasn't only a great performer, he was a great audience". Anytime you were with Charlie he made you feel good about yourself, he knew how to treat people and treated them all the same. He loved to laugh, tell jokes and play them on people. He made everybody feel important. We will all miss him, he was a part of our family.
Charlie's Friend Pete Byam from Apache Junction Arizona recently wrote and sent these great photos. Pete is also a performer and his web site is www.petebyamshow.com. Thanks Pete!
In 2003, Charlie was officially recognized and July 19th was officially designated as "Charlie Ryan Day" in the City of Spokane and the State of Washington. The event, organized by Tom Stamatakos, was held at Borders Books & Music and attended by a standing room only crowd of over 300 local fans. Several awards were presented to Charlie to commemorate the day. Presenters included Tom Stamatakos, local TV Anchorman Randy Shaw, newspaper columnist and author Doug Clark and producer/musician Karl Bingle. Charlie & the band played for over 2 hours and Charlie continued to sign autographs for another 2 hours until every fan had a chance to meet him personally. "Hot Rod Lincoln", of course, received a long standing ovation.
Congressman George Nethercutt said, in part, "Your song Hot Rod Lincoln is an anthem for a generation. Your selection to both the Country Music and Rockabilly Hall of Fame, reflects the appreciation that your many fans and peers have for your musical talent."
Former Senator Maria Cantwell (now Governor) also sent a nice letter to commemorate the event which read, in part, "It is a pleasure to see that the song Hot Rod Lincoln has become a legendary anthem for country music listeners the world over." Maria went on to say, "I am proud to represent you in the United States Senate, you should take pride in your work and know that the people of Spokane and Washington state are grateful for your body of work and long career. Music is an important part of the American experience and your efforts have enriched a grateful nation."
Former Governor of the State of Washington, Gary Locke, greeted Charlie's fans in an official statement celebrating "Charlie Ryan Day". Governor lock said, "Charlie is a state treasure. His musical career, which began in Spokane during the early 1930's, has spanned more than six decades. This is a remarkable testimony to his ability to delight and engage audiences of all ages. He has accumulated a wealth of fascinating experiences in that time, touring with some of the biggest names in the industry. His work also has brought him in contact with legends like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves."
Former Spokane Mayor John Powers also got in on the action. His statement read, in part, "On behalf of the citizens of the City of Spokane, I want to congratulate Charlie Ryan on his many accomplishments as a singer/songwriter and I join with others to declare July 19th "Charlie Ryan Day" in Spokane."
Remembering a rockabilly icon