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Originally from Springfield, KY; Donnie's family moved to Louisville in 1950. He won a talent contest at Male High School at the age of eleven which began his singing career. Years later he became a D.J. and sang at radio station WGRC which later became radio station WAKY in 1958. Donnie became an accomplished singer/musician and became a regular member of the Renfro Valley Gang. After leaving Renfro Valley in 1958, he became a member of Pee Wee King's group. At the age of 17 Donnie was one of the first local artists to record rock & roll on a nationally recognized label. Record from 1962.