Billy Walker (musician)

William Marvin Walker (January 14, 1929 – May 21, 2006) was an American country music singer and guitarist best known for his 1962 hit, "Charlie's Shoes". Nicknamed The Tall Texan, Walker had more than 30 charted records during a nearly 60-year career;[1] and was a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Billy Walker
Billy Walker
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Marvin Walker
BornJanuary 14, 1929
Ralls, Texas
DiedMay 21, 2006 (aged 77)
Fort Deposit, Alabama
GenresCountry, rock and roll
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1947–2006
LabelsCapitol, Columbia, Monument, MGM, RCA, Tall Texan


Early years

Billy Walker was born in Ralls, Texas on January 14, 1929 and was the youngest of three children. His mother died when he was only six years old, and Billy's father was unable to care for him and his two older brothers. Some of the children were placed in a Methodist orphanage in Waco, Texas. Billy attended High School in Whiteface,TX and had won a talent contest which entitled him to appear on radio in Clovis,NM. He seems to have played on his own radio show there, too. This was possibly at the station owned by Pop Echols at the time. Inspired by the music of Gene Autry as a teenager, he had begun his professional music career in 1947 at age 18. After his debut on Clovis radio as a teenager he later joined the Big D Jamboree in Dallas in 1949. The same year, Hank Thompson helped him sign with Capitol Records after he worked with Walker in Waco.[2] His manager at the time had him wear a Lone Ranger-style black mask and billed him as The Traveling Texan, the Masked Singer of Country Songs.

In 1951, Walker signed with Columbia Records and the following year joined the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he and Slim Whitman were responsible in part for Elvis Presley's first appearance on the radio program. In 1954, Walker scored his first hit with "Thank You for Calling". His early Columbia recordings were at a Dallas studio owned by producer Jim Beck, responsible for hits by Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell and others.[3] In 1955, Walker, Presley and Tillman Franks teamed up for a tour of West Texas. Walker soon became a cast member of ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri, where he began a long friendship with host Red Foley.[3]

Country music career

After a brief attempt at rock 'n' roll, Walker played the Texas bar circuit before moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 1959 and joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. He was one of the first artists to record a Willie Nelson song; and although his 1961 version of "Funny How Time Slips Away" only reached No. 23 on Billboard's country singles chart, it helped establish Walker's national reputation.[4] In 1962, he topped the chart with "Charlie's Shoes", the only No. 1 single of his career. His smooth tenor was well-suited to other Western-inspired hits including "Matamoros" and "Cross the Brazos at Waco" (1964).

His Manager & Booking Agent was Ron Blackwood.

After performing at a charity concert in Kansas City, Kansas on March 3, 1963, Walker received an urgent phone call to return to Nashville. Fellow performer Hawkshaw Hawkins gave Walker his commercial airline ticket and instead flew back to Tennessee on March 5 on a private plane, which crashed, killing Hawkins, Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and pilot Randy Hughes.[2]

After leaving Columbia in 1965, Walker signed with producer Fred Foster's Monument Records and moved to MGM in 1970 and to RCA Records in 1974. He later recorded for several independent labels, including his own Tall Texan label.[3]

In the late 1960s, he hosted a syndicated television show, Billy Walker’s Country Carnival, and appeared on other country music TV programs.[2] Walker performed around the world, and several times during the 1980s sang at the International Festival of Country Music at Wembley Arena in London. In April 2006, Walker recorded the duet "All I Ever Need Is You" with Danish singer Susanne Lana for Hillside House Records. The recording, at Signal Path Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, was produced by Charlie McCoy.

Walker continued to tour and remained a mainstay on the Grand Ole Opry, and was scheduled to perform two days following his death with Terri Clark, Porter Wagoner and others.[3]


On May 21, 2006, Walker died in a car accident when the van he was driving back to Nashville after a performance in Foley, Alabama veered off Interstate 65 in Fort Deposit and overturned. His wife Bettie; bassist Charles Lilly Jr., son of Everett Lilly of The Lilly Brothers; and guitarist Daniel Patton were also killed in the 12:40 a.m. CT crash. The Walkers, Lilly, and Patton died instantly. Walker's grandson, Joshua Brooks, survived with serious injuries.[3] Walker was interred in Spring Hill Cemetery in Nashville.



Year Album US Country Label
1961 Everybody's Hits but Mine Columbia
1963 Greatest Hits
1964 Anything Your Heart Desires
Thank You for Calling 18
1965 The Gun, The Gold and the Girl /
Cross the Brazos at Waco
1966 A Million and One 13 Monument
1967 The Walker Way 37
1968 I Taught Her Everything She Knows 38
Salutes the Country Music Hall of Fame
1969 Portrait of Billy 40
How Big Is God
1970 Darling Days
When a Man Loves a Woman
(The Way That I Love You)
40 MGM
1971 I'm Gonna Keep On Lovin' You /
She Goes Walkin' Through My Mind
1973 The Billy Walker Show (with Mike Curb Congregation)
All Time Greatest Hits
The Hand of Love
1974 Too Many Memories
1975 Lovin' and Losin' 27 RCA
1976 Alone Again 47
1980 Bye Bye Love (with Barbara Fairchild)
1984 Life Is a Song EMH


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1954 "Thank You for Calling" 8 singles only
1957 "On My Mind Again" 12
1960 "Forever" 83
"I Wish You Love" 19
1961 "Funny How Time Slips Away" 23 Greatest Hits
1962 "Charlie's Shoes" 1
"Willie the Weeper" 5
1963 "Heart, Be Careful" 21 Thank You for Calling
"The Morning Paper" 22
1964 "Circumstances" 7
"It's Lonesome" 43
"Cross the Brazos at Waco" 2 128 5 The Gun, the Gold and the Girl /
Cross the Brazos at Waco
1965 "Matamoros" 8
"If It Pleases You" 16 singles only
"I'm So Miserable Without You" 45
1966 "The Old French Quarter (In New Orleans)" 49 A Million and One
"A Million and One" 2
"Bear with Me a Little Longer" 3 The Walker Way
1967 "Anything Your Heart Desires" 10
"In Del Rio" 18 I Taught Her Everything She Knows
"I Taught Her Everything She Knows" 11 19
1968 "Sundown Mary" 18 Portrait of Billy
"Ramona" 8 14
"Age of Worry" 20 24
1969 "From the Bottle to the Bottom" (with The Tennessee Walkers) 20
"Smoky Places" 12 Darling Days
"Better Homes and Gardens" 37
"Thinking 'Bout You, Babe" 9 32
1970 "Darling Days" 23
"When a Man Loves a Woman (The Way That I Love You)" 3 When a Man Loves a Woman (The Way That I Love You)
"She Goes Walking Through My Mind" 3 8 I'm Gonna Keep On Lovin' You /
She Goes Walking Through My Mind
1971 "I'm Gonna Keep On Keep On Lovin' You" 3 26
"It's Time to Love Her" 28 singles only
"Don't Let Him Make a Memory Out of Me" 22
"Traces of a Woman" 25 34
1972 "Sing Me a Love Song to Baby" 3 63 All Time Greatest Hits
1973 "My Mind Hangs on to You" 34
"The Hand of Love" 52 The Hand of Love
"Too Many Memories" 96 Too Many Memories
1974 "I Changed My Mind" 39 63
"How Far Our Love Goes" 74 singles only
"Fine as Wine" 73
1975 "Word Games" 10 13 Lovin' and Losin'
"If I'm Losing You" 25 31
"Don't Stop in My World (If You Don't Mean to Stay)" 19 18 Alone Again
1976 "(Here I Am) Alone Again" 41
"Love You All to Pieces" 67 singles only
"Instead of Givin' Up (I'm Givin' In)" 48
1977 "(If You Can) Why Can't I" 100
"It Always Brings Me Back Around to You" 86
"Ringgold Georgia" (with Brenda Kaye Perry) 64
1978 "Carlena and Jose Gomez" 57
"It's Not Over Till It's Over" 92
"You're a Violin That Never Has Been Played" 82 55
1979 "Lawyers" 72
"Sweet Lovin' Things" 69
"Rainbow and Roses" flip
"A Little Bit Short on Love (A Little Bit Long on Tears)" 70
1980 "You Turn My Love Light On" 48
"Answer Game"
1983 "One Away from One Too Many" 93 Life Is a Song
"Pardon My Asking"
1985 "Coffee Brown Eyes" 81 singles only
1988 "Wild Texas Rose" 79

Singles from collaboration albums

Year Single Artist US Country Album
1972 "Gone (Our Endless Love)" Mike Curb Congregation 24 The Billy Walker Show
1980 "Let Me Be the One" Barbara Fairchild 74 Bye Bye Love
"Bye Bye Love" 70
"Love's Slipping Through Our Fingers (Leaving Time on Our Hands)" 79


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944–2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 369.
  2. ^ a b c "In Memory of Billy Walker". The estate of Billy Walker. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
  3. ^ a b c d e Staff (2006-05-21). "Grand Ole Opry Star Billy Walker, Three Others Killed in Traffic Accident". Retrieved 2009-04-17.
  4. ^ Staff (2006-05-21). "Grand Ole Opry Star Billy Walker, Three Others Killed in Traffic Accident". Retrieved 2009-04-17.


External links

(You've Got) The Magic Touch

"(You've Got) The Magic Touch" is a song written by Buck Ram and performed by The Platters. It reached #4 on both the U.S. pop chart and the U.S. R&B chart in 1956.The song was ranked #36 on Billboard magazine's Top 50 singles of 1956.

A Million and One

"A Million and One" is a song written by Yvonne Devaney, which was a hit single for Billy Walker, Dean Martin, and Vic Dana in 1966.

"A Million and One" was first released by Billy Walker, in late May 1966. Walker's version reached No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.Dean Martin's version spent 7 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 41, while reaching No. 4 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart. In Canada, Martin's version reached No. 64 on the RPM 100 and No. 23 on the CHUM Hit Parade.Dean Martin's version was ranked No. 49 on Billboard's ranking of "Top Easy Listening Singles" of 1966.Vic Dana's version spent 3 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 71, while reaching No. 24 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.

Billy Walker

Billy Walker may refer to:

Billy Walker (English footballer) (1897–1964), English footballer of the 1920s and 1930s, later a football manager

Billy Walker (boxer) (born 1939), English heavyweight boxer of the 1960s

Billy Walker (musician) (1929–2006), American country music singer and guitarist

Billy Walker (Scottish footballer) (1893–after 1925), Scottish footballer of the 1910s and 1920s

Billy Walker (Coronation Street), a fictional character in the British soap opera Coronation Street

Billy Joe Walker Jr. (1952–2017), session guitarist and New Age musician

Charlie's Shoes

"Charlie's Shoes", also known as "(I'd Like to Be In) Charlie's Shoes", is a song written by Roy Baham released as a single in 1962 by Billy Walker. It was the only number-one country hit of Walker's career, spending two non-consecutive weeks at the top spot and 23 weeks on the chart.Guy Mitchell also released a version in 1962. It failed to make

Me the Billboard Hot 100 stopping well outside the chart at # 110. The song has also been cut by other artists such as Eddy Arnold's version in 1962 and a cover by Faron Young.

Elusive Butterfly

"Elusive Butterfly" is a popular song written by Bob Lind, released as a single in December 1965, which reached #5 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the adult contemporary chart in the spring of 1966. In Australia, Lind's "Elusive Butterfly" entered the charts on April 10, 1966 and spent three weeks at #2 during July 1966.

In the song the narrator sees himself as a butterfly hunter. He is looking for romance, but he finds it as elusive as a butterfly.

Funny How Time Slips Away

"Funny How Time Slips Away" is a song written by Willie Nelson and first recorded by country singer Billy Walker. Walker's version peaked at number 23 on the Hot C&W Sides chart. The tune is slightly similar to "When Two Worlds Collide" which was written by Roger Miller and Bill Anderson.

Gonna Find Me a Bluebird

"Gonna Find Me a Bluebird" is a song written and performed by Marvin Rainwater. It reached #3 on the U.S. country chart and #18 on the U.S. pop chart in 1957. The song was featured on his 1957 album, Songs by Marvin Rainwater.

List of Grand Ole Opry Members

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music concert show in Nashville, Tennessee which began as a radio barn dance on November 28, 1925 by George D. Hay and has since became one of the genre's most enduring and revered stages. Each show consists of multiple guest artists as well as Opry members, who are selected by Opry management based on several factors including critical and commercial success, respect for the history of country music and commitment to appearing on the program. Publicly, once a new member is chosen, an existing member will ask the new member to join the Opry live on-air during the broadcast, usually when the new member is performing as a guest. Being invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry is considered one of country music's crowning achievements.Opry members have permission to perform at any Opry show they wish, with each show typically consisting of between five and seven members. Each show is split into four "segments", each hosted by a different Opry member who entertains the crowd, performs and introduces other members and guest artists. As such, the Opry has featured a large, rotating ensemble of members ranging from all-time greats and neotraditionalists to contemporary stars. As the Opry is a running series, membership requires that the performer appear regularly (at least 12 shows per year, according to rules in place for most of the 21st century, down from 26 in the 1960s) on the program to remain a member of the show, and if a performer ceases performing regularly at the Opry or runs afoul of management, they can be stripped of their membership; if the exiled performer reconciles and renews their commitment to the show, they can be reinstated. Membership expires when the performer dies; if a single member of a duo or group retires or dies, the surviving member(s) may continue to maintain Opry membership on the group's behalf. The Opry, in general, allows performers who retire, or are no longer physically able to perform on a regular basis to stay as members. The Grand Ole Opry House maintains a wall of fame backstage that contains a name plate for every person who has ever been a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

There are currently 66 standing Grand Ole Opry members, three of whom no longer regularly perform. Over the course of the program's history, over 200 acts have held Opry membership at some point in their lives. As of 2019, Jan Howard is the oldest living Opry member and Kelsea Ballerini is the youngest.

Acts with a † are deceased.

Ramona (song)

"Ramona" is a 1928 song, with lyrics written by L. Wolfe Gilbert and music by Mabel Wayne.

Smoky Places

"Smoky Places" is a song written by Abner Spector and performed by The Corsairs. It reached #10 on the U.S. R&B chart and #12 on the U.S. pop chart in 1962.The song was arranged by Sammy Lowe and produced by Abner Spector.The song ranked #51 on Billboard magazine's Top 100 singles of 1962.

Thank You for Calling

"Thank You for Calling" is a popular and country song.

It was written by Cindy Walker. The song was published in 1954.

The song was recorded by Billy Walker, Jo Stafford, Hank Snow, and Timi Yuro.

Stafford's version was the most popular. It was recorded on April 29, 1954. The recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 40250. The record first reached the Billboard magazine charts on June 9, 1954 and lasted 8 weeks on the chart, peaking at #19.

Walker (surname)

Walker is an English and German surname derived from either a fuller, from the Middle High German walker, meaning "a fuller of cloth", or an officer whose duty consisted of walking or inspecting a certain part of a forest. The surname "Walker" was first found in Germany where records of the name date back to the thirteenth century. In 1253, Sigelo dictus Welkere was recorded in Weissenburg, and in 1209, Bruno Welkiner was a citizen of Cologne. The Walker Families of England are believed to originate from Yorkshire.

With close to 100,000 bearers, Walker is the 18th most common surname in England. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, 501,307 people had the surname Walker, making it the 28th most common surname in America. It is the 14th most common surname in Australia, with 26,688 people as of 2007.

Billy Walker

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.