Billy Joe Royal Biography

3 April 1942, Valdosta, Georgia, USA. Raised in Marietta, Georgia, Royal’s father owned a truck-driving company and the family moved to Atlanta when Royal was aged 10. At school he entertained in school concerts, and after graduation, worked for two years in a nightclub in Savannah, Georgia. Starting in 1962, Royal made several unsuccessful singles, but then teamed with a local songwriter/producer, Joe South. In 1965, they made the US Top 20 with ‘Down In The Boondocks’ and ‘I Knew You When’, the latter of which in theme and vocal delivery was similar to Gene Pitney’s hits. Royal’s subsequent records were not as successful, but he failed to appreciate the potential of ‘Rose Garden’, as it later became a hit for Lynn Anderson. In 1969, he returned to the US Top 20 with ‘Cherry Hill Park’ and worked for several years in Las Vegas. Royal, whose early influences came from country musicians, turned to country music and his 1987 Looking Ahead spent a year on the US country albums chart. His US country hits include ‘Burned Like A Rocket’, ‘I’ll Pin A Note On Your Pillow’, ‘I Miss You Already’ and a duet with Donna Fargo, ‘Members Only’. He has also revived Aaron Neville’s ‘Tell It Like It Is’ and Johnny Tillotson’s ‘It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’’. He continues to make successful singles and regularly appears in the US country chart.

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

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