FAIRMONT - As a small boy, singing along to his mother's records, Ray Anthony fell in love with Fifties rock 'n' roll.
After watching Elvis swivel his pelvis and shake his leg on TV, the little boy would dance in front of the mirror, practicing the moves and dreaming of stardom.
He taught himself how to play guitar, just like his so many of his idols, and the drums, because his favorite member of The Beatles was Ringo Starr.
“Sting” Ray Anthony will perform 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Fairmont Opera House.
That passion has not waned over the years. On Saturday, "Sting" Ray Anthony will star in JukeBox Rock at Fairmont Opera House, a tribute to the songs and sounds that inspired not only his love of music, but life in general.
"Back then it was about being happy, living life and being happy," he said.
Anthony lives just outside Branson, Mo., the "Live Music Show Capital of the World," where he has worked at the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater, performing with the likes of Bobby Vee, Fabian, Chubby Checker and Paul Revere and the Raiders, just to name a few.
"The only thing that kills me about this is I wish my mother was alive, so she could meet these people," Anthony said. "It was my mother who played all those records that exposed me to this music."
His biggest claim to fame might be his Ritchie Valens tribute. With his striking resemblance to "La Bamba" star Lou Diamond Phillips and his skills on the guitar, Anthony has been endorsed by the Valens family, coming to know many of them as friends.
"I just sing the songs the way I hear them in my head and the way I heard them on the record player," he said.
Most of his fans are people who grew up listening to rock 'n' roll in the Fifties and Sixties. Jukebox Rock is Anthony's way of bringing them a piece of happy history, with songs that make them want to stand up and dance.
"When I make people smile, and they're dancing up a storm, and they leave the theater smiling, I've done my job," he said. "That's what it's all about."
JukeBox Rock is a solo show, with much of the accompanying music recorded beforehand. But don't be mistaken. It's all Anthony. The self-taught musician plays and records all the instruments himself.
JukeBox Rock will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Opera House. Tickets can be purchased online at www.fairmontoperahouse.com or by calling (507) 238-4900. Seats are $20 for adults and $10 for students.