Rockabilly star Janis Martin, known as the female Elvis during the 1950s, lived in Danville where she worked as manager of the nearby Danville Golf Club. In 2014 Virginia's Department of Historic Resources installed a marker on West Main Street honoring Martin's career.
Backstory and Context
Record executives dubbed Martin the "Female Elvis." She recorded at six sessions from 1956 to 1958, enjoyed numerous industry accolades, and performed on American Bandstand and the Tonight Show and at the Grand Ole Opry. Martin's fall from stardom was just as dramatic as her meteoric rise to fame—she secretly married and became pregnant, so RCA Victor dropped their teenage star. Martin returned to Southside Virginia, raised her children, managed a country club, and occasionally played locally. A resurgence of interest in rockabilly music in the 1980s brought her international attention. Martin performed in Europe and at major rockabilly shows across the United States. She died of cancer in 2007, leaving a powerful legacy of recordings and fans worldwide.