Roy Frank Drusky Jr., (June 22, 1930 – September 23, 2004) was an American country music singer popular from the 1960s through the early 1970s. Known for his baritone voice, he was known for incorporating the Nashville sound. His highest-charting single was the No. 1 "Yes Mr. Peters", a duet with Priscilla Mitchell.
Early life and career
Drusky was born in 1930, in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother, a church organist, had tried for years to get her son into music as a child, but he was focused more on sports. Originally planning to become a baseball player, he began his music career in the early 1950s performing on a Decatur, Georgia radio station. He began singing while in the US Navy during the 1940s, and later attended Emory University and studied veterinary medicine. During this time, he also played country music with a group he founded, the Southern Ranch Boys.
Drusky also worked as a disc jockey. In 1953, he signed with Starday Records; the first single he released was called "Such a Fool". That same year, he joined the Grand Ole Opry. A couple of years later, he recorded for Columbia Records, but none of his work gained much success.
Work as a songwriter
Faron Young, a well-known country singer, helped Drusky's career by recording his songs. Two songs he wrote, "Alone With You" and "Country Girl", Young turned into No. 1 country hits. After that, Drusky moved on to Decca Records.
Height of his career
Drusky charted in Cashbox with "Wait and See" and "Our Church Your Wedding" in 1959.
In 1960, Drusky finally struck it big. At Decca Records, where he worked with producer Owen Bradley, he released a single called "Another", which he co-wrote. Bradley was a well-known producer who had led legendary country singer Patsy Cline into big success in the early '60s as well. Bradley helped smooth out Drusky's orchestral tones; the next year, Drusky reached the Country Top 10 with the single "Second Hand Rose".
In 1963, Drusky switched to Mercury Records and released his first hit from his new record company the same year he signed on to it. The song was called "Peel Me a Nanner", which was written by Bill Anderson. He cut a lot of duets with Priscilla Mitchell: one of his biggest hits with her was the No. 1 hit "Yes Mr. Peters". (Mitchell was the wife of Jerry Reed, another well-known country singer.) During his career, Drusky racked up a number of Top 40 Country hits.
Some of his Top 40 songs were written by famous singer-songwriters. Liz Anderson wrote "Pick of the Week" for him as well as "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers" which is best remembered by the concurrent hit by Merle Haggard although Drusky's was actually the more successful record at the time. Kris Kristofferson wrote "Jody and the Kid." Another song, "Red, Red Wine", was written by Neil Diamond.
Drusky appeared on most of the country music television programs of the era; and in 1965, he appeared in the movie White Lightnin' Express and two other films as well, The Golden Guitar and Four Acre Feud.
Drusky had his most successful record in several years with 1970's "Long Long Texas Road", a top 5 hit. He continued to score several top 40 country hits with the occasional low-charting single.
Drusky's last top 40 country was a remake of "A Satisfied Mind" in 1973 which had earlier been a hit for both Porter Wagoner and Jean Shepard. He made his last appearance on the Billboard charts in 1974 but occasionally recorded on smaller record labels into the 1990's. He also recorded a number of gospel albums for Chapel Records during this period. He also returned to writing and producing music, the latter of which he had done since the 1960s.
Drusky's membership with the Grand Ole Opry ensured him exposure for decades long after the radio hits stopped coming. He appeared regularly on the program until the year of his death, singing the hit songs he had racked up in the 1960s and 1970s in addition to performing country standards from other artists, which became a tradition at the Opry.
On September 23, 2004, Drusky died at age 74 from complications stemming from lung cancer, which he fought for several years. A memorial service was held at the Highland Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Portland Tennessee. The service was attended by many of Drusky's long time friends, musicians, recording artists and family.
|Birth name||Roy Frank Drusky Jr.|
|Born||June 22, 1930|
|Died||September 23, 2004 (aged 74)|
|Occupations||singer, songwriter, producer,actor, disc jockey|
|Labels||Starday Records, Columbia Records, Decca Records,Mercury Records, Chapel Records|
|Associated acts||Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves,Priscilla Mitchell|