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.
Rise to fame
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. He graduated from Piney Creek High School in 1951.
In 1954, he signed on with Capitol Records. Later in the 1950s, he recorded for Decca Records, as well as 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 #1 hit with "The Girl On The Billboard". His follow-up, "The Belles of the Southern Bell," made the country top five. 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.
His success continued throughout the rest of the 1960s. Songs that became hits during this time are "Be Glad" and "Good Time Charlie's". 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.
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 left his musical career to pursue a career as a music executive and played a big role in the signing of Billy Ray Cyrus. He continued to record in the 1980s, just not as much and for smaller labels.
Reeves joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1966, where he continued to perform until his final years. His last Opry performance was in August 2002. He died from emphysema on New Year's Day, 2007.
|Birth name||Franklin Delano Reeves|
|Born||July 14, 1932|
|Origin||Sparta, North Carolina|
|Died||January 1, 2007 (aged 74)|
|Associated acts||Dick Curless|
Billie Jo Spears