No one has cast a longer shadow over the world of Western Music than Bob Nolan. Cool Clear Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds were probably his best known works, but he published over 1200 songs, and may have written at least as many more that were not published.
Born in Winnipeg in 1908, His parents later separated and young Bob was sent to live with his grandparents in New Brunswick. His father moved to the U.S. changed his name from Nobles to Nolan and Bob caught up to him in Arizona, traveling by rail at the age of 13.
He was working as a lifeguard in California when he answered an add n the paper, placed by a group called the Rocky Mountaineers looking for a tenor who could yodel. He was hired, by Leanard Slye later to be known as Roy Rogers, and a little later with Tim Spencer, the three of them became the original Sons of the Pioneers, and were usually billed as Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. With his great physique, unique voice and camera friendly profile, both Columbia and Republic studios were thinking of grooming Bob Nolan to be the next big cowboy star, but Bob, never really enjoyed the attention and wanted no part of it. .
The Pioneer “sound” was built around Bob Nolan’s distinctive voice and he’s the only group member who appeared in every movie the group was featured in.
He left the Pioneers in the 1950’s living a very private life with his wife.
Bob Nolan died in 1980 and his ashes are scattered on the desert he loved.