Billy Joe Royal Dies at Age 73

Billy Joe Royal Dies at Age 73

Billy Joe Royal, who went from early pop stardom to a successful country career, died suddenly in his sleep at age 73 at his home in North Carolina on Tuesday (Oct. 6). According to reports, Billy Joe was set to resume his tour with Ronnie McDowell in November.

Billy Joe, born and raised in Georgia, achieved instant fame in the rock world with his debut single, “Down in the Boondocks,” which peaked at No. 9 in 1965. Subsequent pop hits included “I Knew You When,” “Hush”—also covered by rock band Deep Purple—and “Cherry Hill Park.”

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Billy Joe Royal’s 1989 album, Tell It Like It Is

During the 1980s, Billy Joe made a successful transition to country music. His soulful, Georgia-bred vocals fit perfectly within the country realm and vaulted Billy Joe onto the charts with hits including “Burned Like a Rocket” and “Old Bridges Burn Slow.” His biggest country hit came in 1989 with his cover of “Tell It Like It Is,” which landed at the No. 2 spot on the country charts.

His last charted single was 1992’s “I’m Okay (And Gettin’ Better).” Over the years, Billy Joe stayed busy on tour, often appearing in package shows with such acts as B.J. Thomas and Ronnie McDowell.

Nash Country Weekly sends condolences to Billy Joe’s family and friends.

Daily Dose

Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter talk about “Thinking ‘Bout You”

Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter talk about “Thinking ‘Bout You”

Dustin Lynch recalls the exact moment during the writing of “Thinking ‘Bout You” when they thought it could work as a collaboration, “We realized, after we got to the chorus, wait a second, this is the duet moment we’ve been looking for. We can have the girl on the other end of the line, and her come in on the second verse, and now it’s a conversation. And I do think that’s why it’s so approachable and people relate to it and those phone calls can be life changing sometimes.”

As the song is knocking on the door to the number-one spot on the country music airplay chart, MacKenzie Porter shares that she and Dustin haven’t had a lot of opportunities to perform the hit song together, “The crazy part is like, we’ve actually probably sang it separately, more than we’ve sang it together, because our touring schedules are different. So then when we do get to do it together, it’s like oh yeah this is how, this is how it’s supposed to go, I’m not supposed to sing Dustin’s first verse, which I do in my own show. It just feels so natural.”

Photo Courtesy of Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter