Billy Joe Royal, American pop and country singer, died at 73

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Billy Joe Royal, born on April 3, 1942 and died October 6, 2015, Billy was an American pop and country singer.

Born in Valdosta, Georgia, and raised in Marietta, Georgia, Billy became a local star at the Bamboo Ranch in Savannah in the 1950s and 1960s.

He is best known for the 1965 US Top 10 pop hit “Down in the Boondocks”, which, along with the singles “I Knew You When” (Top 20, 1965) and “Hush” (1967), were written and produced by Joe South.

His 1969 single, “Cherry Hill Park”, peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the 1970s his recording of “Heart’s Desire” gained popularity among Northern soul enthusiasts and was regularly played in Northern soul nightclubs.

During the 1980s, Billy had a successful comeback with several Top 10 country hits, including “Tell It Like It Is”, “Burned Like a Rocket”, and “I’ll Pin a Note on Your Pillow”.

Billy’s career experienced a second major period during the 2000s due to regular airplay on “oldies” radio stations.

His music was further exposed to younger generations through a movement known as The Beat Army, an online music forum based on Facebook which is operated by author and music producer Paul Collins.

Billy continued to tour regularly, performing concerts at casinos, music festivals and clubs in Canada, the United States, Japan and throughout Europe.

His set lists include a mixture of songs representing multiple genres from the 1960s to the present.

Billy played Robert Ally in the indie Western film Billy the Kid (2013), co-starring country singer Cody McCarver.

Billy died in his sleep on October 6, 2015 in Marietta, North Carolina at age 73.

 

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