Billy Walker: EV Expresses Sympathies to Family and Friends of Country Music Legend
Grand Ole Opry star Billy Walker and his wife Bettie who were killed Sunday (May 21 2006) when the van he was driving left the road and overturned on I-65, south of Montgomery, Ala. Two band members, Charles Lilly and Daniel Patton, were also killed in the accident. Joshua Brooks, the Walkers’ 21-year-old grandson, is in critical condition at a Montgomery hospital.
A long-time EV microphone endorser, Billy Walker was a consummate musician and performer, loved by many. We at EV would like to express our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.
About Billy Walker
It was Slim Whitman and Walker who assisted Elvis Presley in getting his first shot at the Louisiana Hayride. Walker remembers his first encounter with the “Hillbilly Cat“ a.k.a. Elvis Presley. “Here comes this good looking’ kid. Dressed in black pants with a pink coat and pink shoes to match.“ Elvis asked if he could sing a song. “I just stood there sort of in suspended animation until this kid goes out on stage and BANG! Instant electricity.“ The Tall Texan remarked. This would mark the first of many encounters with the King. In 1955 Tillman Franks, Billy and Elvis joined together and toured West Texas. A young outlaw by the name of Waylon Jennings was their poster boy. Waylon assisted in promotion of the tour. Walker would later introduce a shy Elvis to his old friend Roy Orbison.
At the Ozark Jubilee Walker would learn to fine-tune his craftsmanship. It was there that he met Red Foley. A life long friendship developed. Billy was there at Red’s last concert standing in the wings as Red sang his last song “PEACE IN THE VALLEY.“ “Red taught me more about working on stage than anyone. He was a master performer,“ commented Walker.
30 Minutes from its final destination . . .
After a benefit concert in Kansas City, Walker received an urgent call to return home. Hawkshaw Hawkins overheard Billy’s dilemma and handed him his plane ticket, Hawkshaw said, “Here kid, you take this ticket and you get on that plane and you be Hawkshaw Hawkins, I’ll fly home with Patsy and the others.“
Later a small private plane would crash just 30 minutes from its final destination. Hawkshaw Hawkins, Randy Hughes, Cowboy Copas and Patsy Cline were dead. Walker had no idea that the plane ticket he received that day would literally save his life. For years Walker carried a wound so deep that he couldn’t speak over the loss of his friends. Until one day he realised the greatest tribute he could give to his friends was to sing.
His million seller “Charlie’s Shoes“ was selected as one of The Top 100 Hot Country Singles of All Time.
Billy joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. The legendary Ernest Tubb introduced him. Walker recalls that night at the Ryman Auditorium, “It was electric, and it’s not every day that you get to be a part of history.“
When you’re talking about Billy Walker you’re talking about a living legend. It’s impossible to cover everything this man has accomplished and continues to accomplish in his vast career. Walker also has recorded America’s most requested wedding song “Adam’s Side“ The Wedding Song, which won Video of the Year, and was nominated for Song of the Year. . His latest gospel CD is “BACK ON THE MOUNTAIN AGAIN.“
For Walker the tragedies in his life have been opportunities, the sorrows have been moments of reflection, but his faith has enabled him to turn what could have been defeats into lasting victories.
“The Tall Texan“
LARGER than LIFE
With 32 Top Ten hits, over 100 chart records and numerous #1 hits, “Charlie’s Shoes“ “Cross The Brazos at Waco,“ “Word Games,“ and “When A Man Loves A Woman“... BMI recently certified his “Funny How Time Slips Away“ for a million airplays.
Billboard Magazine lists Billy Walker as one of the Top 20 “most played“ artists for 20 years.
The hits continue . . . “Smoky Places,“ “Ramona,“ “Matamors,“ “Word Games,“ “Don’t Stop In My World“ and Billy’s latest hit ADAM’S SIDE, “The Wedding Song.“
Billy Walker was inducted in 1960 as a member of The Grand Ole Opry.