Billy Strange

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Billy Strange
Birth name William Everett Strange
Born (1930-09-29)September 29, 1930
Long Beach, California
United States
Died February 22, 2012(2012-02-22) (aged 81)
Franklin, Tennessee
United States
Occupations Musician, composer
Instruments Guitar
Associated acts

William Everett "Billy" Strange (September 29, 1930 – February 22, 2012) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor. He was a session musician with the famed Wrecking Crew, and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum as a member of The Wrecking Crew in 2007.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Billy Strange was born in Long Beach, California on September 29, 1930.[1]

Recordings and songwriting[edit]

Strange teamed up with Mac Davis to write several hit songs for Elvis Presley, including "A Little Less Conversation", the theme from Charro!, and "Memories". Strange also composed the musical soundtrack for two of Elvis' films Live a Little, Love a Little and The Trouble with Girls. He also wrote "Limbo Rock" that was recorded by The Champs and Chubby Checker.

Strange recorded many cover versions of James Bond movie themes for GNP Crescendo Records and provided the instrumental backing and arrangement for Nancy Sinatra's non-soundtrack version of "You Only Live Twice" as well as Nancy and Frank Sinatra's "Somethin' Stupid". He was recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for his pioneering contribution to the genre.[2]

Strange played guitar on numerous Beach Boys hits, including "Sloop John B" and the Pet Sounds album. He also played guitar for Nancy Sinatra, Jan & Dean, The Ventures, Willie Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Wanda Jackson, Randy Newman, and Nat King Cole, among others. One of his most famous performances is on Nancy Sinatra's version of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)".

Strange arranged and conducted all of Nancy Sinatra's Reprise albums as well as Nancy Sinatra's and Lee Hazlewood's 1972 RCA Records release, Nancy & Lee Again and their 2003 album, Nancy & Lee 3. He also arranged the 1981 Sinatra and Mel Tillis album, Mel & Nancy. He arranged and conducted for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Duane Eddy, and Elvis Presley. One of his most famous arrangements was "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" for Nancy Sinatra. Strange also performed the vocals for Steve McQueen in Baby the Rain Must Fall.[3]

Heard on the soundtracks of many Disney features, Strange played themes for such TV shows as "The Munsters" (1964), "Batman" (1966) and "Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957). He is the guitarist heard on the theme to "The Munsters".[4]

"A Little Less Conversation", which he wrote with Mac Davis, was on the sound­tracks of the DreamWorks ani­mated fea­ture films Shark Tale (2004) and Megamind (2010).[5]

He sang his own com­po­si­tion, "The Bal­lad of Bunny and Claude", in the Mer­rie Melodies Bunny And Claude (We Rob Car­rot Patches) (1968) and The Great Carrot-Train Rob­bery (1969).[5]

Personal life[edit]

Strange was married to singer and actress Joan O'Brien from 1954 to 1955. They had a son, Russell Glen Strange, born on October 4, 1955.

He was also married to Betty Jo Conrad from 1960 to 1978. They had a daughter together, Kelly Kimberly Strange, born on November 11, 1964.

While separated from Betty Jo, Strange moved from California to Tennessee to open and run a publishing firm for the Sinatras and lived with/dated Tricia "LeAnn" King. They had a daughter, Mary "Micah" King (Strange), who was born on December 23, 1976 in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.

Strange was married to singer Jeanne Black in his final years. He died on February 22, 2012, aged 81.[3]

Selected filmography[edit]

As actor[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Selected discography[edit]

  • Billy Strange Plays Roger Miller
  • Mr. Guitar
  • The James Bond Theme / Walk Don't Run '64
  • English Hits of '65
  • Goldfinger
  • Secret Agent File (later rereleased as a compilation)
  • James Bond Double Feature
  • In the Mexican Bag
  • Great Western Themes
  • Billy Strange and The Challengers
  • Strange Country
  • 12 String Guitar
  • Railroad Man
  • Super Scary Monster Party (compilation)
  • De Sade (film soundtrack)

References[edit]

External links[edit]