WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
I'll Climb That Mountain
The event that is the focal point of this book came almost 16 years after my first paid performance as an entertainer. The $5.00 I received for pounding my hand into the upper keys of an upright piano at a high school dance doing my radical Jerry Lee Lewis impression was hardly worth the trip to the hospital to lance my swollen finger. The following highlights will give you a glance at parts of my career which eventually led to the story you're about to read:
Debut performance at school gym in Bear Grass, North Carolina
Played piano, guitar and trumpet in assorted local bands like The Roulettes, The Impalas, and The Tempos in North Carolina.
Played piano, organ, bass and trumpet
with first professional group:
The Fabulous Five Satans in North Carolina.
"Allow me to insert here an observation of the keen discernment I must have had in 1964 to agree to call our band by that name. But please understand that at the time I was attending a Baptist-associated college whose sports mascot name was...'The Demon Deacons'? We might have called ourselves The Beatles, but the name was already taken."
Toured with "The Band With That Terrible Name" throughout the East in concert with dozens of hit recording acts. To see a list of them, click here and scroll down the page to the name of the artist and the songs they had on the charts at the time.
First appearance in Las Vegas at the Carousel Lounge of the Fremont Hotel playing Hammond organ with a Vegas show group.
Toured U.S. with Vegas group eventually starting the BILLY MAGIC TRIO to work in East coast supper clubs
First daughter, Caprice, is born
Recorded in Nashville with Elvis' musicians
Began solo act as WILD BILL doing music and comedy
WILD BILL works all over Florida and East coast in night clubs
Gulf-Western's Daytona Beach television station produces THE WILD BILL COOKSEY SHOW which was syndicated in 1800 cable markets
Second daughter, Sunshine, arrives into this world
WILD BILL continues to work top jobs all over Florida
And you'll pick up the story as you begin Chapter One!
Author's personal acknowledgement:
All words, ideas and expressions given from this next page up to the Epilogue are those of a self-driven man in the 1970's who once was blind and could not yet see how to climb his mountain.
4:16 P.M. Pacific Standard Time Sunday, May 9, l976
On stage in the lounge of the Silver City Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
The breaking of the Guinness Book of World Records
current achievement of l6 hours
by a one-man band
A very tired entertainer named Wild Bill Cooksey
Utter madness! People cheering and screaming
as if their team had just won the World Series
In the Bicentennial year
Cooksey broke the world record
for his profession by performing
l7 hours and 76 minutes non-stop
After shaking hands and getting congratulations from hundreds of gleeful spectators, I was whisked off the stage and away from the lounge to a private office by Ben Roscoe, the casino public relations man, Gene Lucas, General Manager and Harry K., Casino Manager.
Before even the last bit of perspiration had been eliminated from my face, I was sitting in a chair talking on the phone to a radio network news hookup. When asked how I felt, I opened my mouth but nothing came out.
My big national break for exposure and I couldn't perform my strongest talent----TALKING!
Somehow I mumbled something and it was all on tape being spread across the country. My picture and story was immediately put into all UPI channels to be published in 300 newspapers.
My moment of glory! A feeling like no other! To achieve a goal in your life and everyone knows about it! WOW! An Olympic medal couldn't have made me prouder.
While riding home, I heard the newscast and my mumbling voice. Who cares? That's me and the world can help me share my happiness. Selfish, maybe, but every man needs a boost to his ego once in a while to keep him going.
Oh, I knew I could never have done it alone, but it felt good to be the physical product used to accomplish this dream. The days and events that preceded this exciting time in my life or were to follow May 9, l976 seemed unimportant to me right then. For after 31 years I had climbed one of my highest mountains and was ready for the next journey towards the sky.
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