John D. Loudermilk
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|John D. Loudermilk|
|Also known as||Johnny Dee
March 31, 1934 |
Durham, North Carolina
Born in Durham, North Carolina, Loudermilk grew up in a family who were members of the Salvation Army faith and was influenced by the church singing. His cousins Ira and Charlie Loudermilk were known professionally as the Louvin Brothers. Loudermilk is a graduate of Campbell College (now Campbell University), a private North Carolina Baptist Convention-owned college in Buies Creek, North Carolina.
As a young boy he learned to play the guitar, and while still in his teens wrote a poem that he set to music, "A Rose and a Baby Ruth". The owners of the local television station, where he worked as a handyman, allowed him to play the song on-air, resulting in country musician George Hamilton IV putting it on record in 1956. After Eddie Cochran had his first hit record with Loudermilk's song, "Sittin' in the Balcony", Loudermilk's career path was firmly set.
Loudermilk recorded some of his songs, including "Sittin' in the Balcony", under the stage name Johnny Dee (reaching No. 38 on the pop charts in 1957). His 'Johnny Dee' records were recorded for the North Carlina based Colonial Records.
In 1961, he signed with RCA Victor, where he had a number of hits:
- "Language of Love" (US No. 32/ UK Top 20) in 1961.
- "Thou Shalt Not Steal" (US No. 73) in 1962
- "Callin' Doctor Casey" (US No. 83) in 1962
- "Road Hog" (US No. 65) in 1962.
But it was as a songwriter that he made his mark. In 1963 he wrote another all-time hit for George Hamilton IV, Abilene. Working out of country music capital Nashville, Tennessee, Loudermilk became one of the most productive songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s, penning country and pop music hits for the Everly Brothers, Johnny Tillotson, Chet Atkins, The Nashville Teens, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Johnny Cash, Marianne Faithfull, Stonewall Jackson, Sue Thompson and others. For example, he wrote "The Pale Faced Indian", later known as "Indian Reservation", a hit in the 1970s, and "Tobacco Road", a hit in the 1960s and 1970s for, among others, The Nashville Teens, Blues Magoos and Eric Burdon & War.
"Midnight Bus" was recorded by several singers, and he commented that the best was by Betty McQuade in Melbourne, Australia.
Indian kidnapping story
A well-known story surrounding one of Loudermilk's songs is that, when Loudermilk was asked by the American Top 40 radio show about the origins of the Raider's hit song "Indian Reservation", Loudermilk invented a story that he wrote the song after crashing his car in a blizzard and being kidnapped by Cherokee Indians. He claimed that they tortured him for days by piercing his spine with thin needles and only let him go after he promised to write a song about their plight. American Top 40 DJ Casey Kasem later announced this story while playing the "Indian Reservation" song on air. The story was later confirmed to be false, and attributed to Loudermilk's imagination rather than an actual event.
- "Abilene" (a hit for George Hamilton IV)
- "Angela Jones" (a hit in the US for Johnny Ferguson and in the UK for Michael Cox)
- "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" (a hit for George Hamilton IV)
- "Big Daddy ('s Alabamy Bound)" (covered by Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins, the Willis Brothers)
- "Blue Train" (George Hamilton IV - 1972)
- "Break My Mind" (covered by George Hamilton IV, Anne Murray, Sammy Davis, Jr, Glen Campbell, Linda Rondstadt, Roy Orbison, Gram Parsons, Wreckless Eric, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Box Tops)
- "Ebony Eyes" (a hit for The Everly Brothers)
- "Everything's Alright" (a hit for The Newbeats)
- "Google Eye" (a hit for The Nashville Teens)
- "The Great Snowman" (Bob Luman)
- "He's Just a Scientist" (a notable recording by John D. Loudermilk himself)
- "I'll Never Tell" (recorded by Roy Orbison)
- "Indian Reservation" (a hit for Don Fardon and later for Paul Revere and The Raiders; also included in "Indian Outlaw")
- "I Wanna Live" (a hit for Glen Campbell)
- "Norman" (a hit for Sue Thompson)
- "Paper Tiger" (a hit for Sue Thompson)
- "Road Hog" (1962, A Portuguese version called "O Calhambeque" released in 1963 by Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos is a very big hit in Brazil, well known to the public till today; same story in France with Joe Dassin's version "Bip bip" in 1964)
- "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" (a hit for Sue Thompson)
- "Sunglasses", (recorded in 1965 by Skeeter Davis, and in 1967 by Sandy Posey, became a hit in UK in 1984 for Tracey Ullman)
- "Talk Back Trembling Lips" (a hit for Johnny Tillotson)
- "The Language of Love"
- "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" (a hit for The Casinos, also recorded by Johnny Nash)
- "This Little Bird" (a hit for Marianne Faithfull and The Nashville Teens)
- "Thou Shalt Not Steal" (a hit for Dick and Dee Dee)
- "Tobacco Road" (a hit for The Nashville Teens (1964); also recorded by Lou Rawls (1963, 1966), the Blues Magoos (1966), Jefferson Airplane (1966), Rare Earth (1969), Edgar Winter's White Trash (1970), David Lee Roth (1985) and many more)
- "Top 40, News, Weather and Sports" recorded 1961 by Mark Dinning
- "Torture" (a hit for Kris Jensen)
- "Turn Me On" (made famous by Norah Jones' cover)
- "Waterloo" (a hit for Stonewall Jackson)
- "What A Woman In Love Won't Do" (Sandy Posey)
- "Windy and Warm"
- "You Call It Joggin' (I Call It Runnin' Around) (recorded by Mose Allison)
|1961||Language of Love||RCA|
|1962||Twelve Sides of John D. Loudermilk|
|1966||A Bizarre Collection of the Most Unusual Songs|
|1967||Suburban Attitudes in Country Verse|
|1968||Country Love Songs|
|1969||The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk|
|1970||The Best of John D. Loudermilk|
|1979||Just Passing Through||MIM|
|1957||"Sittin' in the Balcony"||—||38||single only|
|1961||"Language of Love"||—||32||Language of Love|
|1962||"Thou Shalt Not Steal"||—||73||singles only|
|"Callin' Dr. Casey"||—||83|
|"Road Hog"||—||65||Twelve Sides|
|1963||"Bad News" (b/w "Guitar Player(Her and Him)")||23||—||singles only|
|1964||"Blue Train (Of the Heartbreak Line)"||44||132|
|1965||"That Ain't All"||20||—|
|1966||"Silver Cloud Talkin' Blues"||—||—||A Bizarre Collection of the Most Unusual Songs|
|"You're the Guilty One"||—||—||single only|
|1967||"It's My Time"||51||—||Suburban Attitudes in Country Verse|
|1968||"Odd Folks of Okracoke"||—||—||single only|
|1969||"Brown Girl"||—||—||The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk|
|1971||"Lord Have Mercy"||—||—||Volume 1-Elloree|
|1979||"Every Day I Learn a Little More About Love"||—||—||Just Passing Through|
|1967||"Chet's Tune"||Some of Chet's Friends||38|
- Orr, Jay. (1998). "John D. Loudermilk". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Ed. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 303–4.