Bill Dees

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Bill Dees (William Marvin 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]


Dees played guitar and sang with a band called "The Five Bops", gaining enough recognition to perform on an Amarillo, Texas radio station. Dees eventually made his way to Nashville, Tennessee, where his meeting 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 where ever he went. Later Dees 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, 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". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  5. ^ Minovitz, Ethan (October 26, 2012). "Oh, Pretty Woman Songwriter Bill Dees Dead at 73". Big Cartoon News. 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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