Billy "Crash" Craddock Biography

William Wayne Craddock, 16 June 1939, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. As a child, he would imitate the stars of Grand Ole Opry and he was performing with his brothers at talent shows from the age of 10. He played American football and he says that, to avoid being tackled, he would ‘crash’ through the larger players, hence his nickname. Craddock has been recording since 1957, although his first single, ‘Smacky Mouth’, for the Sky Castle label in Greensboro, was released under the name of Billy Graddock. He then recorded ‘The Millionaire’ as Billy Craddock for Colonial, and went to Date for ‘Ah Poor Little Baby’, an underrated rock ‘n’ roll song which was covered for the UK market by Adam Faith. Although only 19, Craddock signed for his fourth label, but this time it was a major, Columbia Records. For his third single, he was billed, for the first time, as Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock. The a-side, the rocking ‘Boom Boom Baby’, was a hit in Australia, but it was the ballad b-side, ‘Don’t Destroy Me’, which scraped into the US Top 100. He toured Australia three times and became one of the earliest rock ‘n’ roll stars in the country. He had no success in the UK but one of his records, ‘I Want That’, was covered by Johnny Kidd. Craddock subsequently recorded for Mercury, King and Chart and from such records as ‘Anything That’s Part Of You’, it was evident that he was switching to country music. However, he had limited success and by the mid-60s, he had returned to his home town, married, taken a day job and was singing only at weekends. In 1971 he signed for a new Nashville label, Cartwheel, and had a US Top 3 country hit with ‘Knock Three Times’. He then had country hits with revivals of ‘Dream Lover’, ‘You Better Move On’, ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’’ and ‘I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door’. He won awards including one from Cashbox as The New Find Of 1972. Moving to ABC, Craddock had several more country hits including number 1 hits with a song about suntan lotion, ‘Rub It In’ (also number 16 on the USA pop charts), a revival of ‘Ruby Baby’, and ‘Broken Down In Tiny Pieces’, which also featured Janie Fricke. He started his country hits for Capitol Records with ‘I Cheated On A Good Woman’s Love’ in 1978, and continued with ‘If I Could Write A Song As Beautiful As You’, ‘My Mama Never Heard Me Sing’, ‘I Just Had You On My Mind’, ‘Sea Cruise’ and ‘Love Busted’. In direct imitation of Elvis Presley, he wore a white jumpsuit and his forceful, live album shows he was still a rock ‘n’ roller at heart.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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