17 October 1941, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA. The son of a railway worker, Conley left home at 14 when his father lost his job. His influences were the Grand Ole Opry, followed by Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, and then the Beatles. He originally planned to be a painter, but developed his love for country music while in the US Army. After his military service, Conley had a succession of manual jobs and spent his spare time either playing clubs or hawking his songs around Nashville. His first successes were as a writer - Smokey Mountain Memories for Mel Street and This Time Ive Hurt Her More (Than She Loves Me) for Conway Twitty. He recorded for Prize, GRT and Warner Brothers Records with moderate success and as Earl Conley. He started using his full name in 1979 to avoid confusion with John Conlee. His single of Fire And Smoke reached number 1 on the US country charts in 1979, a major achievement for the small Sunbird label....
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