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Del Reeves

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Del Reeves
Background information
Birth nameFranklin Delano Reeves
Born(1932-07-14)July 14, 1932
Sparta, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedJanuary 1, 2007(2007-01-01) (aged 74)
Centerville, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, Songwriter
Years active1945–2006
LabelsCapitol, Decca, Columbia Records, Reprise, United Artists

Franklin Delano Reeves (July 14, 1932 – January 1, 2007)[1] was an American country music singer, best known for his "girl-watching" novelty songs of the 1960s including "Girl on the Billboard" and "The Belles of Southern Bell". He is also known for his 1968 trucker's anthem, "Looking at the World Through a Windshield", which demonstrated he was capable of more than just novelty songs. He became one of the most successful male country singers of the 1960s.

Early life[edit]

Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina, in July 1932 , United States, the youngest of 11 children.[2] He was named after U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[3] While his older brothers served in World War II, Reeves learned how to play their musical instruments.[2] By age 12, Reeves began performing on the Merry Go Round Show on local radio station WPAQ.[3][4]

After high school, Reeves briefly attended Appalachian State College (now University). He later enlisted in the United States Air Force, stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.[4]

Music career[edit]


After completing his military service, Reeves began performing regularly on Chester Smith's radio show on Modesto station KTRB around 1955.[5][6] Reeves made his first rockabilly recordings with Capitol Records from 1957 to 1958.[7][8]

In 1958, Reeves began hosting a television variety show on Stockton station KOVR.[8]


In 1961, Reeves signed with Decca Records and recorded the song that would become his first charting single, "Be Quiet Mind".[2] Moving to Nashville in 1962, Reeves and wife Ellen Schiell co-wrote "Sing a Little Song of Heartache", a top five hit for Rose Maddox that year.[4][9]

After stints with Reprise Records in 1963 and Columbia Records in 1964, Reeves signed with United Artists Records.[9] Reeves became known as "The Doodle-Oo-Doo-Doo Kid" for the sound effect he added to his songs.[10]

Under United Artists, he had his first number-one hit with "The Girl on the Billboard" in 1965.[2] His follow-up, "The Belles of the Southern Bell", made the country top five.[2] His success continued throughout the rest of the 1960s. Songs that became hits during this time are "Be Glad" and "Good Time Charlie's".[2] In the late 1960s, he appeared in several Hollywood films, including a starring role in Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers, and a supporting role in Burt Reynolds' first big movie Sam Whiskey.[4][9]

In the 1970s, he released a series of duets with Bobby Goldsboro and Penny DeHaven. He also returned to television, hosting the syndicated TV program, Del Reeves' Country Carnival.[2]

His last big hit was "The Philadelphia Fillies". His career declined in the mid-1970s, and then started to slowly move away from country music, although he recorded some duets with Billie Jo Spears in 1976.[2] He had hit songs on the country chart most years until 1982.

In 1979, Reeves left his musical career to pursue a career as a music executive; he would eventually help Billy Ray Cyrus score his first major record deal.[2] He continued to record in the 1980s on a reduced scale for smaller labels.



Year Album US Country
1965 Mr. Country Music
Girl on the Billboard 8
Doodle-Oo-Doo-Doo 6
1966 Sings Jim Reeves 23
Special Delivery 28
Gettin' Any Feed for Your Chickens 18
Santa's Boy
1967 Struttin' My Stuff 22
Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other 42
The Little Church in the Dell
Our Way of Life 28
1968 Running Wild 35
The Best
Looking at the World 33
1969 Wonderful World of Country Music
Down at the Goodtime Charlie's 42
Friends and Neighbors
1970 Big Daddy Del 41
Country Concert
The Best 2
1971 Del Reeves 36
1972 Before Goodbye 45
1973 Trucker's Paradise
1974 Live at the Palomino Club 45
The Very Best 42
1975 With Strings and Things
1976 By Request (with Billie Jo Spears) 46
10th Anniversary
1980 Let's Go to Heaven Tonight
1994 His Greatest Hits
1996 Gospel
1998 I'll Take My Chances


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country[11] CAN Country
1961 "Be Quiet Mind" 9 singles only
1962 "He Stands Real Tall" 11
1963 "The Only Girl I Can't Forget" 13
1964 "Talking to the Night Lights" 41
1965 "Girl on the Billboard"A 1 Girl on the Billboard
"The Belles of the Southern Bell" 4
"Women Do Funny Things to Me" 9 Doodle-Oo-Doo-Doo
1966 "One Bum Town" 42 Special Delivery
"Gettin' Any Feed for Your Chickens" 37 Gettin' Any Feed for Your Chickens
"This Must Be the Bottom" 27 Struttin' My Stuff
1967 "Blame It on My Do Wrong" 45 Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other
"The Private" 33 The Best of Del Reeves
"A Dime at a Time" 12 Our Way of Life
1968 "I Just Wasted the Rest" (with Bobby Goldsboro) 56
"Wild Blood" 18 5 Running Wild
"Looking at the World Through a Windshield" 5 4 Looking at the World
"Good Time Charlie's" 3 20 Down at the Goodtime Charlie's
1969 "Be Glad" 5
"There Wouldn't Be a Lonely Heart in Town" 12 Big Daddy Del
"Take a Little Good Will Home" (with Bobby Goldsboro) 31 31 Our Way of Life
1970 "A Lover's Question" (with the Goodtime Charlies) 14 The Best 2
"Son of a Coal Man" 41 21 Friends and Neighbors
"Landmark Tavern" (with Penny DeHaven) 20 24 singles only
"Bad, Bad Tuesday" 41
"Right Back to Lovin' You Again" 22 21 Friends and Neighbors
1971 "Bar Room Talk" 30 7
"Workin' Like the Devil for the Lord" 33
"The Philadelphia Fillies" 9 38 Del Reeves
"Dozen Pairs of Boots" 31 49
1972 "The Best Is Yet to Come" 29
"No Rings, No Strings" 62 Before Goodbye
"Crying in the Rain" (with Penny DeHaven) 54 single only
"Before Goodbye" 47 Before Goodbye
1973 "Trucker's Paradise" 54 86 Trucker's Paradise
"Mm-Mm Good" 44 31 single only
"Lay a Little Lovin' on Me" 22 63 The Very Best of Del Reeves
1974 "What a Way to Go" 70 singles only
"Prayer from a Mobile Home" 62
"She Likes Country Bands" 89
"Pour It All on Me" 65 Strings and Things
1975 "But I Do" 65
"Puttin' In Overtime at Home" 74
"You Comb Her Hair Every Morning" 92 single only
1976 "I Ain't Got Nobody" 51 10th Anniversary
"On the Rebound" (with Billie Jo Spears) 29 By Request
"Teardrops Will Kiss the Morning Dew" (with Billie Jo Spears) 42
"My Better Half" 79 singles only
1977 "Ladies' Night" 78
1978 "When My Angel Turns into a Devil" 93
"Dig Down Deep" 79
1980 "Take Me to Your Heart" 82 Del Reeves
"What Am I Gonna Do?" 90
1981 "Swinging Doors" 67 singles only
"Slow Hand" 53
1982 "Ain't Nobody Gonna Get My Body but You" 67
1986 "The Second Time Around" 95 Here's Del Reeves

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
1994 "Girl on the Billboard"

Personal life[edit]

Reeves married Ellen Schiell in 1956 at the Stanislaus County fair in California; they had three children.[9][12] Reeves died of emphysema on January 1, 2007, at age 74, at his home in Centerville, Tennessee.[1][3][4]


  1. ^ a b "Del Reeves, Grand Ole Opry Star, 74, Dies". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 6, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Huey, Steve. "Del Reeves: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Foxx, Virginia (February 5, 2007). "Honoring Del Reeves" (PDF). Congressional Record. 153 (3): 3081. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Morris, Edward (January 4, 2007). "Grand Ole Opry Star Del Reeves Dead at 73". Country Music Television. Archived from the original on January 8, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  5. ^ "Chester Smith". Hillbilly-music.com. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  6. ^ "Chester Smith | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  7. ^ "Del Reeves dies at 73". Country Standard Time. January 2, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Sachs, Bill (April 14, 1958). "Folk talent & tunes" (PDF). The Billboard. 70 (15): 14, 46. Retrieved July 3, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  9. ^ a b c d Trott, Walt (1998). "Del Reeves". In Kingsbury, Paul (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 434–435. ISBN 978-0-19-517608-7.
  10. ^ Wolff, Kurt (2000). "Del Reeves". Country Music: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 322. ISBN 1-85828-534-8.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 344–345. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  12. ^ "Ellen Reeves - View Obituary & Service Information". Williamsfh.com. Retrieved August 9, 2021.