South Dakota’s ‘king of rock & roll’ turns 80

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — The musician known as the “founding father” of rock-and-roll in South Dakota is celebrating a milestone birthday Thursday.

Myron Wachendorf, better know as Myron Lee, of Myron Lee & The Caddies fame, is turning 80 years old. Some of his longtime friends stopped by his Sioux Falls home to celebrate Wednesday night. The surprise party provided an emotional lift to someone with a heavy heart.

Myron Wachendorf became suspicious when he saw some people stirring outside his Sioux Falls home.

“And I looked out the window and I started to see some people around and I thought, oh boy, what’s going on here,” Wachendorf said.

The unannounced visitors turned out to be friends of Wachendorf who performed a pop-concert for the longtime rock and roller.

“Happy birthday to you…”

The surprise party caught Wachendorf off-guard.

“It’s really a shocker and to see so many nice friends come out like this you know,” Wachendorf said.

The two years leading up to Wachendorf’s 80th birthday have been difficult for him.

“It’s been quite an ordeal, I’ll tell you that, to lose your best friend after all those years,” Wachendorf said.

Wachendorf is grieving the death his wife of 57 years. And his friends are here to support him.

“Myron’s been struggling since his beautiful wife Carole passed away a couple years ago, and just thought this would be a good pick-me-up for him,” longtime friend John Mogen said.

The surprise lifted the spirits of this onetime teen idol of the 1950’s and 60’s. Rock-and-roll never forgets an old friend.

“To look at him, you would not think that he’s eighty years old, he’s kind of a big kid at heart,” Mogen said.

Wachendorf credits his faith and regular workouts at the YMCA for helping him reach the 80-year milestone.

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