Bill Dees

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Bill Dees
Birth nameWilliam Marvin Dees
Born(1939-01-24)January 24, 1939
Borger, Texas, United States
DiedOctober 24, 2012(2012-10-24) (aged 73)
Mountain Home, Arkansas, United States
Years active1959-2012
Associated actsRoy Orbison

William Marvin "Bill" Dees (24 January 1939, Borger, Texas – 24 October 2012, Mountain Home, Arkansas) was an American musician known for his songwriting collaborations with singer Roy Orbison.[1]


Based out of Borger, Texas, Dees played guitar and sang with a band called "The Five Bops" doing his first recordings with Norman Petty at his Clovis, NM studio in May 1958. They later became "The Whirlwinds", gaining enough recognition to perform on an Amarillo, Texas radio station. Dees eventually made his way to Nashville, Tennessee, where his meeting with Roy Orbison led to a collaboration that produced a string of successful songs for Monument Records including the hits "Oh, Pretty Woman" and "It's Over".[2]

In 1967, Dees co-wrote all the songs for the Orbison album and MGM motion picture The Fastest Guitar Alive.[3]

Beyond his work with Orbison, Bill Dees wrote hundreds of songs, a number of which were recorded by performers such as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Skeeter Davis, Glen Campbell, Billy Joe Royal, Frank Ifield, Mark Dinning, and Gene Pitney. In 2000, he recorded his own album titled Saturday Night At The Movies, a compilation of songs previously sung by Orbison that had been written with Dees and some that Dees had written alone.

Bill Dees lived in New Boston, Texas, located in the northeast corner of the state for a number of years. There he continued writing and playing his music, and making friends wherever he went. Later he resided near Branson, Missouri, and continued to write songs with collaborator Jack Pribek until his death on October 24, 2012.[4] He was living at a nursing facility in Mountain Home, Arkansas, at the time of his death.[5][6]


  1. ^ William Yardley, Bill Dees, 73, Orbison Collaborator, Dies, The New York Times, November 1, 2012
  2. ^ "Mercy: Behind Roy Orbison's 'Pretty Woman'". NPR. December 6, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  3. ^ "The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967) - Soundtracks". IMDB. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  4. ^ "Songwriter Bill Dees Dies in Mountain Home". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  5. ^ Minovitz, Ethan (October 26, 2012). "Oh, Pretty Woman Songwriter Bill Dees Dead at 73". Big Cartoon News. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "Bill Dees, US songwriter, dies aged 73". BBC News. November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2012.

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