"Benny and the Jets" was formed in 1973.
While most people may think the name is related to the Elton John song "Bennie and The Jets" this is not the case at all. In fact the Elton John song came out a year or so after the band formed.
The name actually comes from one of the rival gangs in "West-Side Story." As Benny explains, "There was another Detroit area band, Moose and Da Sharks," and The Sharks were the rivals of The Jets" in West-Side Story."
Benny says that while the name may not have come from the song, it never hurts for people to associate you with something famous.
Over the years Benny and The Jets have opened for or toured with many Rock & Roll greats. Including Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, Chubby Checker and Ricky Nelson. They also toured with Bo Diddley as his backing band for a time.
Benny and The Jets recorded three albums in the 1970's including a live album.
There have been a few personnel changes over the last four decades but, there is always the constant presence of Benny Jet (also known a Ben Speer).
Benny, is unmistakable with his long white beard which might bring to mind Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill of ZZ Top. Although Benny's beard is not groomed as neatly as those of the ZZ Top members.
Some tunes Benny and The Jets are particularly known for in their live performances are: "Bo Diddley" (which Benny does as a tribute to his friend and hero), "The Twist" (Benny and The Jets are connected to the record for the largest number of naked people doing "The Twist" as they performed the song at a nudist resort), and "Love Is All Around" which they often close their shows with.
Benny Jet also co-hosts the "Doctor Doo-Wop Show" which airs Wednesday nights from 5 to 7 PM Eastern time on WCXI 1160 AM out of Fenton, MI (it is also webcast live on www.WPON.com).
Benny is also a regular call-in guest on J.T. The Brick's sports talk show which is nationally syndicated.