Roy Drusky

Easy-listening singer billed as the 'Perry Como of Country Music'

Roy Drusky sang easy-listening country music in the same vein as Jim Reeves. Although he had many country hits, he rarely crossed over to the pop charts. In 1967 his best chance of a UK hit, "If the Whole World Stopped Loving", was covered very successfully by Van Doonican.



Roy Frank Drusky, singer: born Atlanta, Georgia 22 June 1930; married 1957 Bobbye Jean Swafford (three sons): died Nashville, Tennessee 23 September 2004.



Roy Drusky sang easy-listening country music in the same vein as Jim Reeves. Although he had many country hits, he rarely crossed over to the pop charts. In 1967 his best chance of a UK hit, "If the Whole World Stopped Loving", was covered very successfully by Van Doonican.

Drusky was born in Atlanta in 1930 and his father died when he was five. His mother played the piano in church and, although he had a few rudimentary lessons, he showed little interest in music. He did play the clarinet in his high-school band, but he wanted to become a professional baseball player. At a training camp for the Cleveland Indians, he realised that he could never attain a high enough standard and gave up his dream.

Whilst in the US Navy, Drusky started to play the guitar and drums. In 1950 he enrolled at Emory University in Atlanta with the intention of becoming a vet and, to help pay for his studies, he played the drums for a local band, the Southern Ranch Boys. As a result of their regular radio bookings, Drusky became one of the station's presenters. He was soon singing on air and he excelled with soft ballads.

In 1953 he was invited to record for the well-known country label Starday. The session was scheduled for a Sunday afternoon and the musicians were drinking whiskey, both of which went against his Baptist upbringing. He later remarked, "I was shocked and wondered what I had got into here." The record, "Such a Fool", did little business, but has since, along with other Starday records, become a collectors' item.

Two years later, Drusky joined the Minneapolis radio station KEVE as a DJ, but he was always writing songs. In 1958, the promoter of a Webb Pierce tour heard Drusky's "Alone With You" and passed it to the country star Faron Young. The record topped the US country charts and a second song of Drusky's, "Country Girl", did the same. He was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry even though he had had no country hits of his own.

His own successes started in 1960 with two of his own songs, "Another" and "Anymore", and then a duet with Kitty Wells, "I Can't Tell My Heart That". In 1961 his record producer, Owen Bradley, offered him a choice of two songs, "Three Hearts in a Tangle" and "I Fall to Pieces": he picked "Three Hearts in a Tangle", which was a reasonable success, but the other song became a big hit for Patsy Cline. "Three Hearts in a Tangle" had some airplay in the UK and purchasers were delighted to find an equally strong B-side, "I'd Rather Loan You Out (Than Let You Go)".

Rather out of character, Drusky had a US country hit with Bill Anderson's novelty "Peel Me a Nanner" (1963) and he also recorded "(From Now On All My Friends are Gonna Be) Strangers" (1965). Towards the end of one session in 1965, with 15 minutes remaining, Owen Bradley wanted to record a duet, so he asked the backing singer, Priscilla Mitchell, to join Drusky on "Yes Mr Peters". It became Drusky's only US country No l as a performer.

In 1966 Drusky appeared in the outrageously bad film Las Vegas Hillbillys, with Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren. With rather more taste, he was among the first to recognise the songwriting talents of Kris Kristofferson. Drusky had a US country hit with his whimsical "Jody and the Kid" (1968). He also introduced Elton John to country record-buyers with a cover version of "Dixie Lily" (1974).

Drusky was brought to the UK in the late Seventies by the promoter Drew Taylor and toured with Boxcar Willie, Moe Bandy and Jean Shepard. He was billed as the "Perry Como of Country Music" and recorded for the label Big R, his most-played track being "Night Flying".

Spencer Leigh

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
The reindeer pen at the attraction
lifeLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen's 'Magical Journey' and other winter blunderlands
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Argyll Scott International: Risk Assurance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Day In a Page

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'