John D. Loudermilk
John D. Loudermilk
|Birth name||John Dee Loudermilk Jr.|
|Also known as|
|Born||March 31, 1934|
Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||September 21, 2016 (aged 82)|
Christiana, Tennessee, U.S.
John Dee Loudermilk Jr. (March 31, 1934 – September 21, 2016) was an American singer and songwriter. Although he had his own recording career during the 1950s and 1960s, he was primarily known as a songwriter.
His best-known songs include "Indian Reservation", a 1968 hit for UK singer Don Fardon and a U.S. No. 1 hit in 1971 for Paul Revere & the Raiders. He wrote "Ebony Eyes", a 1961 U.K. No. 1 and U.S. No. 8 for the Everly Brothers, and also wrote "Tobacco Road", a 1964 Top 20 hit in both the U.S. and the U.K. for the Nashville Teens, "This Little Bird", a U.K. No. 6 for Marianne Faithfull in 1965, and "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye", a U.S. Top Ten hit in 1967 for the Casinos. That song was also a U.S. No. 1 country hit for Eddy Arnold in the following year.
Early life and career
Loudermilk was born in Durham, North Carolina, to Pauline and John D. Loudermilk Sr., an illiterate carpenter. John D. Jr.'s family were members of the Salvation Army. He was influenced by the church singing of the Christian Church. His cousins Ira and Charlie Loudermilk were known professionally as the Louvin Brothers. Loudermilk was 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, Loudermilk learned 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 local television station WTVD, where he worked as a graphic artist, allowed him to play the song on-air, resulting in country musician George Hamilton IV putting it on record in 1956. It spent 20 weeks on the Billboard magazine pop chart, reaching No. 6.
Loudermilk recorded some of his own songs—including "Sittin' in the Balcony", which reached No. 38 on the pop charts in 1957—as "Johnny Dee", for the North Carolina-based Colonial Records label.
In 1958, he signed with Columbia Records and recorded five unsuccessful singles to 1959, including the original version of "Tobacco Road". 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
It was as a songwriter that Loudermilk made his mark. In 1963 he wrote another all-time hit for George Hamilton IV, "Abilene". Working out of the country music capital of 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. His song "The Pale Faced Indian" (later known as "Indian Reservation") was a hit in the 1970s; and "Tobacco Road" was a hit in the 1960s and 1970s for, among others, the Nashville Teens, Blues Magoos, Eric Burdon & War, and David Lee Roth. Several singers recorded "Midnight Bus"; Loudermilk commented that the best was by Betty McQuade in Melbourne, Australia.
After suffering from prostate cancer and respiratory ailments, Loudermilk died on September 21, 2016, at his home in Christiana, Tennessee. He was 82. The actual cause of death was a heart attack, according to his son Michael.
A well-known story surrounding one of Loudermilk's songs is that, when he was asked by the Viva! NashVegas radio show about the origins of the Raiders' hit song "Indian Reservation", he fabricated the story that he wrote the song after his car was snowed in by a blizzard and he was taken in by Cherokee Indians. A self-professed prankster, he spun the tale that a Cherokee chieftain, "Bloody Bear Tooth" asked him to make a song about his people's plight and the Trail of Tears, even going so far as to claim that he had later been awarded "the first medal of the Cherokee Nation", not for writing the song, but for his "blood"; further fabricating that his "great-great grandparents, Homer and Matilda Loudermilk" were listed on the Dawes Rolls. Had this tall tale been true, he would have been a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, which he was not.
In spite of the song's title, neither the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, nor the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, nor the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma communities (the only federally-recognized Cherokee tribes) are known as "reservations".
- "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)
- "Bad News" (covered by Johnny Cash, Johnny Winter, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, and George Thorogood)
- "Big Daddy ('s Alabamy Bound)" (covered by Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, and 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 Ronstadt, Roy Orbison, Gram Parsons, Wreckless Eric, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Vern Gosdin, The Box Tops and Crystal Gayle)
- "(He's My) Dreamboat" (a hit for Connie Francis)
- "Ebony Eyes" (a hit for the Everly Brothers)
- "Everything's Alright" (a No. 16 Billboard hit for the Newbeats)
- "Google Eye" (a hit for the Nashville Teens)
- "The Great Snowman" (Bob Luman)
- "Hey Ma ! (Hide The Daughter)" (a single for "Little" Jimmy Dickens, 1959)
- "He's Just a Scientist" (a notable recording by John D. Loudermilk himself, also recorded by Connie Francis in 1961, but unreleased until 1987)
- "I Hear It Now" (a notable recording by John D. Loudermilk himself)
- "I Wanna Live" (a hit for Glen Campbell)
- "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")
- "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 until today; same story in France with Joe Dassin's version "Bip bip" in 1964)
- "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" (a hit for Sue Thompson)(covered by Boney M; there's a Portuguese version, "Filme Triste", released in 1962 by Brazilian vocal group Trio Esperança)
- "Sittin' in the Balcony" ( a hit for Eddie Cochran)
- "Sun Glasses", (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 both Ernest Ashworth and Johnny Tillotson)
- "The Language of Love"
- "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" (a hit for The Casinos (1967), Eddy Arnold (1968), Glen Campbell (1976), Toby Beau (1979), Neal McCoy (1996); also covered by more than a dozen others including Bettye Swann & 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 in English for Kris Jensen, also recorded in French and German as "Cœur blessé" and Italian as "Pagherai" by Petula Clark)
- "Turn Me On" (made famous by Norah Jones' cover)
- "Waterloo" (a hit for Stonewall Jackson)
- "Weep No More My Baby" (B-side to Brenda Lee's hit "Sweet Nothin's")
- "What A Woman in Love Won't Do" (Sandy Posey)
- "Windy and Warm" (Played by guitarists Chet Atkins and Doc Watson)
- "You Call It Joggin' (I Call It Runnin' Around) (recorded by Mose Allison and Jimmy Buffett)
|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|
|"Callin' Dr. Casey"||—||83|
|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|
- Sweeting, Adam (September 27, 2016). "John D Loudermilk obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
- Schudel, Matt (September 22, 2016). "John D. Loudermilk, Nashville songwriter of 'Tobacco Road,' dies at 82". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- Paul Kingsbury; Laura Garrard; Daniel C. Cooper; John Rumble, eds. (December 16, 2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Oxford University Press. p. 1241. ISBN 978-0-19-984044-1.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 273.
- Unterberger, Richie. "John D. Loudermilk Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- van der Hoeven, Kees. "John D. Loudermilk Website". Ihesm.com. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- Cashmere, Paul (December 29, 2011). "Betty McQuade Dies at 70". Noise11.
- William Grimes (September 22, 2016). "John D. Loudermilk, Who Wrote 'Tobacco Road' and 'Indian Reservation,' Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- Juli Thanki (September 22, 1016). "Songwriter John D. Loudermilk dead at 82". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- "John D. Loudermilk Collection, 1950-1991". finding-aids.lib.unc.edu. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- on YouTube
- Connie Francis (1987). "Rocksides (1957 - 64)". CD Liner Notes (Media notes). Polydor Records. 831 698-2.