Always a country music fan, Tommy Sands' mother gave him a guitar for Christmas when he was seven. He taught himself to play and, at age eight, got a job at radio station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, performing twice a week. Later, he and his mother moved to Houston where, in 1951, he cut his first record for Freedom Records. By 1952, Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, signed Sands with RCA Records, where he recorded seven forgettable songs between 1953 and 1955. In January of 1957, he landed the lead in Kraft Theater: The Singin' Idol (1957), an episode of Kraft Theater (1947). A song he sang in that production, "Teenage Crush", shot to #3 on the Billboard and Cashbox charts, and Sands' career as a teen idol was off and running. He sang the Oscar-nominated song, "Friendly Persuasion", at the 1957 Academy Award ceremonies and, the next year, played the lead in a thinly-disguised biography of his career, Sing Boy Sing (1958). Several years later, he appeared with his former father-in-law, Frank Sinatra (he had married Sinatra's daughter Nancy Sinatra), in None But the Brave (1965). Sands later moved to Hawaii, where he had a nightclub and a clothing business. He sang in a rock festival in England in 1990.