An only child, born in Dallas and raised in Waxahachie, TX to a swing bandleader father (Pinky Dawson), Ronnie Dawson launched his musical career while still in his teens. Forming a band, Ronnie Dee and the D Men, he won a talent contest at the Big D Jamboree in Dallas ten weeks in a row. He signed with Gene Vincent's manager, Ed MacLemore and came close to achieving success as a rockabilly guitarist/singer. His first two singles, "Action Packed" b/w "I Make the Love" and "Rockin' Bones," (credited to "The Blonde Bomber-Ronnie Dawson") sold well regionally and resulted in a contract with Dick Clark's label, Swan, and an appearance on National Bandstand. His sides for Swan were well received, but cast Dawson as a countrified teen idol, rather than a rockabilly wildcat. Dawson's new success came to a halt when the late-'50's payola scandal forced Clark to close the record company, leaving Dawson without a label. Dawson made a few unsuccessful attempts to salvage his career, including a 1961 single for Columbia, "Do Do Do" b/w "Who's Done Been Here," credited to the fictional character Commonwealth Jones. Limited to a sideman position, Dawson toured with the Light Crust Doughboys and played drums on Paul & Paula's "Hey Paula" and Bruce Chanel's "Hey Baby."