Sunday, 14 July 2013
Del Reeves born 14 July 1937
Franklin Delano Reeves (July 14, 1932 – January 1, 2007), better known as Del Reeves, was an American country music singer, best known for his "girl-watching" novelty songs of the 1960s including "Girl on the Billboard" and "The Belles of the Southern Bell". He is also known for his 1968 trucker's anthem, "Looking At The World Through A Windshield", which demonstrated he was capable more than just novelty songs. He became one of the most successful male country singers of the 1960s.
Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina on July 14, 1932. He was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had been nominated by the Democratic Party to be their presidential nominee just a few days before he was born. The youngest of 11 children, he learned guitar by borrowing his brothers' instruments while they were serving in World War II. He was a local radio star by age 12 and later attended Appalachian State College and served in the Air Force, which led to a relocation to Sacramento. He recorded for Capitol Records 1957 - 1958 and became a regular on The Chester Smith Show from 1958-1961, after which he moved to Nashville and began recording for Decca. He also recorded for Reprise Records and Columbia Records.
Everything began to change when Reeves signed with United Artists Records. The work he did for United Artists is probably his best-known work. He finally scored big in 1961 with the hit song "Be Quiet Mind". Later in 1965, he had his first No. 1 hit with "The Girl On The Billboard" which sold a million copies and earned him
the nickname of the Doodle-Oo-Doo-Doo Kid for the nonsense syllables that he sang with the song's guitar intro. His other hits included "The Belles of Southern Bell," "Women Do Funny Things to Me," "Looking at the World Through a Windshield," "Good Time Charlie's," "Be Glad" and "The Philadelphia Fillies."
During this time, he and his wife became a songwriting team and wrote songs for the likes of Rose Maddox, Carl Smith and Roy Drusky, to name a few. In the late 1960s, he recorded an album paying tribute to Jim Reeves (no relation) and also appeared in several Hollywood films, including a starring role in "Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers", and a supporting role in Burt Reynolds' first big movie Sam Whiskey.
Reeves became a regular performer on the Opry in 1966, and performed for up to 1 million people a year on the long-running country show. During his 40 years at the Grand Old Opry, he was hailed as one of its best entertainers because of his comic timing. Along with his music, he did impressions of stars such as Jimmy Stewart, Johnny Cash and Walter Brennan.
In the 1970s, he released a series of duets with Bobby Goldsboro and Penny DeHaven. He also returned to television, hosting the syndicated TV program, Del Reeves' Country Carnival.
His last big hit was "The Philadelphia Fillies". His career declined in the mid-1970s and then started to slowly move away from country music, although he recorded some duets with Billie Jo Spears in 1976.
In 1979, Reeves pursued a career as a music executive although he continued to record in the 1980s, just not as much and for smaller labels. In the early 1990s, he promoted the emerging career of singer Billy Ray Cyrus. The arrangement ended up in court with Reeves suing for damages. The matter was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
He continued to perform at the Opry until his final years. He died from emphysema on New Year's Day, 2007.(Info various sources mainly Wikipedia & Legacy.com)