When Sherwin Linton formed his first band "The Rocketeers" in 1955-1956 in Watertwon, he was no doubt South Dakota's first Rock-A-Billy musicians. In 1956 Sherwin and his band recorded cover versions of "Maybelline", "Honey Don't", "Party Doll" and several of Sherwin's originals.
Sherwin learned to accompany his singing while chording on the piano and guitar as a child. He made his first radio performance in 1950 on station KWAT in Watertown and by 1953 was singing on the famous WNAX Missouri Valley Barn Dance in Yankton, SD. At age 16, Sherwin had his own radio show on KWAT in Watertown. Sherwin's charismatic stage presence and very uniquely energetic rockin' style made him a special attraction at the famous "Club Cabana" and in 1957 he fronted a small combo at a Sioux Falls Rock-N-Roll Club "The Ditty Bop".
In early 1958n Sherwin moved to Minneapolis, MN and soon formed "The Fender Benders". This group toured with Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Buddy Knox, Wanda Jackson and Conway Twitty and rocked and rolled audiences form Minnesota to the west coast thru the mid sixties. Sherwin and The Fender Benders cut several Rock-A-Billy records in the late 50's and early 60's and in 1966 he journeyed to Nashville and recorded "Cotton King", a song that catapulted him to the top of the Country Music charts. Sherwin has toured with everyone from Tex Ritter and Hank Snow to Lefty Frizzell and Roy Acuff. He signed with Acuff-Rose Publishing Company and Hickory Records resulting in numerous TV appearances and coast to coast tours.
In 1971 Sherwin's friend, Governor Richard Kneip, recognizing Sherwin's close ties to Johnny Cash, suggested he take his show inside the walls of the South Dakota State Penitentiary and record a live album. The album titled, "Hello, I'm not Johnny Cash" became a best seller and drew praise from Cash himself. Sherwin became one of the top nominees for "Entertainer of the Year" and "Male Vocalist of the Year" by Country Music Association, The Academy of Country Music and Music City News. In 1975 Sherwin's record of "When She Cries" won an award for single of the year. Subsequent hits included the 1986 novelty song, "Santa Got a DWI", and anti drunk driving song that hit the charts and became a Christmas favorite, selling over a million copies.
From the 60's, 70's and 80's to present, Sherwin has performed everywhere from the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium to major Las Vegas casinos as well as hundreds of fairs and festivals from Canada to Texas. In 2006, Sherwin was recognized by "Ripley's Believe It or Not" for 50 years on the road and never missing an engagement. He has been a perennial favorite at the South Dakota State Fair and in 2007 the fair named a street on the grounds, "Cotton King Avenue" in Sherwin's honor.
Sherwin has been inducted into nine Hall of Fame's including his 2007 induction into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain. In 2008 and 2009 Sherwin was voted the "Texas FAME Entertainer of the Year". From 1956 to present, Sherwin is still singing the songs of Elvis, Marty Robbins, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash with the same vitality that made them classics. With his own hits and originals plus a variety of traditional country, folk, gospel and 50's rock-a-billy, combined with this style as a raconteur, Sherwin can entertain audiences anywhere. Nearing age 70 he continues to travel the road doing over 200 dates each year. His show is complimented by his wife Pam and his band The Cotton Kings. As for the future, Sherwin feels the best is yet to come and thanks God for his many blessings.