Sunday, October 3, 2010

Today In Oldies 10/4/2010

A new week means the Oldies ticker is abuzz at Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2!

Where In The World Is.........Billy Swan?

From his humble beginnings growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Billy Swan was in Memphis hanging out with Elvis by age 20.  By 30, he was being compared to Elvis and even talked about as "the next Elvis".  While that never quite materialized, he has still had a long career in the music business that continues today. 

Writing, performing, and playing live from childhood, Billy Swan's big break came in 1962 when he became friends with Bill Black, Elvis Presley's original bass player.  A song written by Swan that Black and his band originally recorded, "Lover, Please", eventually became a Top 10 hit for Clyde McPhatter.  Swan soon moved to Memphis, and at one time became a friend and employee of Elvis, working on the Graceland estate as a security guard.  He then moved to Nashville, beginning to make his name as a country songwriter with hits for Conway Twitty, Mel Tillis, and Waylon Jennings.  He also diversified his musical portfolio, expanding into producing, where he found success with Tony Joe White's crossover smash "Poke Salad Annie", and band member, playing bass for Kris Kristofferson.  It was his association with Kristofferson that ultimately (and somewhat inadvertently) led to a brief flirtation with superstardom. 

Signed as a solo artist to Monument Records, Billy Swan recorded a song using an RMI organ that Kristofferson and then-wife Rita Coolidge had given him as a wedding gift.  That organ was the driving force behind a song from his first album that became a smash.  Recorded in just two takes, "I Can Help", with its rockabilly feel, hit #1 in the U.S. (on both the Pop and Country charts), Canada, and Australia, and went Top 10 in the UK.  Several major music publications began to hail Billy Swan as "the next Elvis". 

Unfortunately, the "I Can Help" momentum didn't carry Billy Swan much further.  Subsequent singles and album releases went nowhere.  Billy Swan eventually went back to Kris Kristofferson's band.  He has remained active in the music business and collaborates with other famous names occasionally, including Scotty Moore (Elvis's original guitarist), ex-Eagles bassist Randy Meisner, and Jimmy Griffin (formerly of Bread).  His association with Elvis has also had him involved in numerous Elvis tribute projects. 

Today, Billy Swan is primarily a backup and session musician.  He still writes and records sporadically, and in a recent interview, he indicated that royalties have kept he and his family fed over the years. 

From an appearance on The Midnight Special circa 1974, here's Billy Swan's shot at inheriting Elvis's throne as The King..........

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Burning Question of the Day

Which member of a huge 70's musical duo was the only female backup singer credited on Pink Floyd's landmark album, "The Wall"?

Check back tomorrow @ Everything Oldies for the answer, and leave a Comment here with your best guess! 

Friday's Burning Question (and Answer) of the Day

In 1975, a group called The Ocean Liners changed their name.  With their new name, their first single hit #1!  What was that new name?

Answer: KC and the Sunshine Band


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