Dickey Lee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dickey Lee
Dickey Lee at Alpena High School, Alpena, Michigan, December 2012
Dickey Lee at Alpena High School, Alpena, Michigan, December 2012
Background information
Birth nameRoyden Dickey Lipscomb
Born (1936-09-21) September 21, 1936 (age 86)
OriginMemphis, Tennessee
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1957–present
LabelsTampa, Sun, Smash, TCF Hall, RCA, Mercury

Royden Dickey Lipscomb[1] (born September 21, 1936),[2] known professionally as Dickey Lee (sometimes misspelled Dickie or Dicky), is an American pop/country singer and songwriter, best known for the 1960s teenage tragedy songs "Patches" and "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)". He also has a number of hit songs on the country charts in the 1970s, including "Rocky" and "9,999,999 Tears", and has written or co-written songs recorded by other singers, such as "She Thinks I Still Care", "The Door Is Always Open" and "The Keeper of the Stars".


Lee formed a country trio while he was still at school at the age of 16, performing at his school and local functions.[3] In 1957–58, Lee made his first two recordings, "Dream Boy" and "Stay True Baby", in his hometown of Memphis for Tampa Records, later released two songs for Sun Records in, although the song were only regional hits.[2][4] He moved to Texas, and achieved his first chart success in 1962, when his composition "She Thinks I Still Care" was a hit for George Jones[2] (later recorded by Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Leon Russell, and later Anne Murray as "He Thinks I Still Care").[2] Glen Campbell also recorded the song for his final album, Adios. Later that year, "Patches", written by Barry Mann and Larry Kobler and recorded by Lee for Smash Records, rose to No. 6.[2] The song tells in waltz-time the story of teenage lovers of different social classes whose parents forbid their love. The girl drowns herself in the "dirty old river". The singer concludes: "It may not be right, but I'll join you tonight/ Patches I'm coming to you." Because of the teen suicide theme, the song was banned by a number of radio stations. However, it sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[5] It is in this period that he changed his name legally from Royden Dickey Lipscomb to Dickey Lee after a man of a similar name attempted to sue him for using his name.[4]

Lee had a No. 14 hit in 1963 with a song he co-wrote, a conventional rocker, "I Saw Linda Yesterday".[2] In 1965, he returned to teen tragedy with "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)",[2] a song related to the urban legends known as the vanishing hitchhiker and Resurrection Mary. He focused primarily on production and songwriting in the late 60s.[2]

Lee returned to Nashville in 1969 and signed with RCA, and started releasing songs to the country chart in 1970. His 1970s country hits as a singer include two remakes of pop songs, Delaney & Bonnie's "Never Ending Song of Love"[2] and Austin Roberts's "Rocky"[2] (another bitter-sweet song, written by Ronald Johnson – aka Woody P. Snow), in addition to original songs such as "Angels, Roses, and Rain", and "9,999,999 Tears".[2]

Lee co-wrote several songs with Bob McDill, including "Someone Like You" (by Emmylou Harris), "I've Been Around Enough To Know" (first recorded by Jo-El Sonnier in 1973, but would become a No. 1 hit in 1984 for John Schneider), and "The Door is Always Open" (by several artists, most notably by Dave and Sugar). He also co-wrote the 1994 Tracy Byrd hit, "The Keeper of the Stars", and has written or co-written songs for a number of other prominent country artists, including George Strait, Charley Pride, and Reba McEntire.[4]

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015.[6] Lee is included as co-writer and singer on singer-songwriter Michael Saxell's 2005 album Wonky Windmill on the song "Two Men." In 1987 Dickey Lee became a lifetime member of the prestigious Nashville, Tn. organization (R.O.P.E.) Reunion of Professional Entertainers.



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country
1962 The Tale of Patches 50 Smash
1965 Laurie and the Girl from Peyton Place TCF Hall
1971 Never Ending Song of Love 12 RCA Victor
1972 Ashes of Love 16
Baby, Bye Bye
1973 Crying Over You 42
Sparklin' Brown Eyes
1975 Rocky 8
1976 Angels, Roses and Rain 27
1979 Dickey Lee Mercury
1980 Again
1981 Everybody Loves a Winner


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country
CAN Country
1962 "Patches"

"More Or Less"

6 The Tale of Patches
1963 "I Saw Linda Yesterday" 14
"Don't Wanna Think About Paula" 68
"I Go Lonely"
"Day the Sawmill Closed Down" 104
1964 "To the Aisle"
"Me and My Teardrops"
"Big Brother"

"She's Walking Away"

1965 "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)" 14 6 Laurie and the Girl From Peyton Place
"Girl from Peyton Place" 73 23
1966 "Good Girl Goin' Bad"
"Good Guy"
1968 "Red, Green, Yellow and Blue" 107
1970 "All Too Soon"
"Special" Never Ending Song of Love
1971 "The Mahogany Pulpit" 55
"Never Ending Song of Love" 8 31
1972 "I Saw My Lady" 25 Ashes of Love
"Ashes of Love" 15
"Baby, Bye Bye" 31 15 Baby, Bye Bye
1973 "Crying Over You" 43 Crying Over You
"Put Me Down Softly" 30 Sparklin' Brown Eyes
"Sparklin' Brown Eyes" 49
1974 "I Use the Soap" 46 Rocky
"Give Me One Good Reason" 90
"The Busiest Memory in Town" 22 15
1975 "The Door Is Always Open"
"Rocky" 1 9
1976 "Angels, Roses and Rain" 9 1 Angels, Roses and Rain
"Makin' Love Don't Always Make Love Grow" 35
"9,999,999 Tears" 3 52 3 85
1977 "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" 20 17
"Virginia, How Far Will You Go" 22 12
"Peanut Butter" 21 39
1978 "Love Is a Word" 27
"My Heart Won't Cry Anymore" 49
"It's Not Easy" 58
1979 "I'm Just a Heartache Away" 58 Dickey Lee
"He's an Old Rock 'N' Roller" 94
1980 "Don't Look Back" 61
"Workin' My Way to Your Heart" 30 Again
"Lost in Love" (with Kathy Burdick) 30
1981 "Honky Tonk Hearts" 37 Everybody Loves a Winner
"I Wonder If I Care as Much" 53
1982 "Everybody Loves a Winner" 56


  1. ^ "Lee's entry on the BMI database". Broadcast Music Incorporated. Archived from the original on November 24, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Dickey Lee | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  3. ^ "Artist Biography: Dickey Lee". Billboard. Vol. 74, no. 36. September 8, 1962.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Dickey Lee, One of Country's Greatest Living Songwriters". Saving Country Music. June 30, 2022.
  5. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 147–148. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  6. ^ Thanki, Juli (July 30, 2015). "Country Music Hall of Fame to salute songwriter Dickey Lee". The Tennessean.
  7. ^ "Dickey Lee Chart History: Top Country Albums".
  8. ^ "Dickey Lee Chart History: Hot Country Songs".
  9. ^ "Dickey Lee Chart History: Billboard Hot 100".
  10. ^ a b "Results: RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada.

External links[edit]