Johnny Duncan (country singer)

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Johnny Duncan
Johnny Duncan in 1971
Johnny Duncan in 1971
Background information
Birth nameJohnny Richard Duncan
Born(1938-10-05)October 5, 1938
OriginDublin, Texas, U.S.
DiedAugust 14, 2006(2006-08-14) (aged 67)
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1970–2006
LabelsColumbia Records
Associated actsJanie Fricke, Johnny Duncan Music

Johnny Richard Duncan (October 5, 1938 – August 14, 2006) was an American country music singer, best known for a string of hits in the mid- to late 1970s. In his career, he released 14 studio albums, including thirteen on Columbia Records. These albums produced more than 30 chart singles, with three of those reaching number one: "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous", "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better", and "She Can Put Her Shoes Under my Bed (Anytime)" from 1976, 1977, and 1978, respectively. Seven more of his singles were top-10 hits.


Duncan was born in Dublin, Texas. Before he went to Nashville, Duncan attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He then spent a few years in Clovis, New Mexico.

Early life and influences[edit]

Duncan's early life was steeped in West Texas music. He picked this up naturally as a boy listening to his mother play rhythm guitar in his uncle's country band. Later, he began sharpening his vocal skills, influenced by his early idols Eddy Arnold, Perry Como, Jim Reeves, and Frank Sinatra. Johnny was born into a musical family. He is very proud of his talented and famous cousins, including Eddie Seals, Jimmy Seals of Seals & Crofts, and country singer Dan Seals. "He knew when he was 12 years old that playing music and singing songs was going to be his life", said his wife, Connie Duncan.[1]

"He grew up here in a small country town and loved music", Jim Harrell said. "His mother played herself and a lot of his cousins played with him." (Jim Harrell, owner and funeral director of Harrell Funeral Home in Dublin, which handled arrangements for his funeral) His cousins became famous, as well – Jimmy Seals of Seals & Crofts and country singer Dan Seals.[2]

After playing and singing with his musically gifted family for a few years, he auditioned demos in April 1959 for Norman Petty in Clovis, NM. Norman recognized his talent as a gifted songwriter and Johnny was soon signed to Leader Records, a subsidiary of the Kapp Records label. After 3 US singles and 1 UK release between 1959 and 1962 saw little action, Johnny grew tired of the intent to market him as a pop vocalist and he decided to pursue the country genre and moved to Nashville.

Duncan wrote many songs recorded by artists such as, Charley Pride, Marty Robbins, Chet Atkins, Conway Twitty, and Jim Ed Brown.


In Franklin, Tennessee, Duncan worked as a DJ and performed on local morning TV shows. He began to record for Columbia Records in the late 1960s. Between 1967 and 1973, Duncan's recordings never reached the top 20 until "Sweet Country Woman" entered at number six.

In the 1970s, Duncan performed duets with Janie Fricke, many of which were highly successful. Their songs "Stranger" and "Thinking of a Rendezvous" (both 1976), "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better" (1977), and "Come A Little Bit Closer" (1978, a remake of the song first made popular by Jay and the Americans) were the most successful. In fact, "Thinking of a Rendezvous" and "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better" both went to No. 1number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, as did Duncan's solo 1978 single "She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed Anytime".

Duncan's string of top-10 hits continued into 1979 – most notably a cover of Johnny Rivers' "Swayin' to the Music" (released by Duncan as "Slow Dancing") and "The Lady in the Blue Mercedes" – and he even enjoyed another top-20 hit with Fricke in 1980 with a duet version of Michael Jackson's "She's Out of My Life". His star power faded in the early 1980s with changing musical tastes, although his biggest songs were popular on country radio through the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Personal life and death[edit]

Duncan died of a heart attack on August 14, 2006, at the age of 67. Duncan has three daughters: Angela, Lezlie and Lori with his first wife, Betty Deisher,[3] and one son with wife Connie Duncan, who survived him.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country CAN Country
1968 Johnny One Time 40 Columbia
1969 Back to Back (w/ June Stearns)
1971 There's Something About a Lady
1973 Sweet Country Woman 34
You're Gonna Need a Man Harmony
1977 Johnny Duncan 21 Columbia
Come a Little Bit Closer 27
1978 The Best Is Yet to Come 42 8
1979 See You When the Sun Goes Down
Straight from Texas
1980 In My Dreams 61
Nice'n Easy (w/ Janie Fricke)
You're on My Mind
1986 Faraway Hideaway Pharaoh
2005 The Thing To Do JRD Records

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album US Country Label
1976 The Best 5 Columbia
1978 Greatest Hits 45
1998 Pure Country
Classic Country Simitar
2003 It Couldn't Have Been Any Better Collector's Choice
2018 Thinkin' Of A Rendezvous ~ Columbia Country Hits 1969–1980 T-Bird Americana


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1967 "Hard Luck Joe" 54 Johnny One Time
1968 "Baby Me Baby" 67
"To My Sorrow" 47
"Jackson Ain't a Very Big Town" (w/ June Stearns) 21 Back to Back
1969 "I Live to Love You" 70 Single only
"Back to Back (We're Strangers)" (w/ June Stearns) 74 Back to Back
"When She Touches Me" 30 Johnny One Time
1970 "Window Number Five" 65 You're Gonna Need a Man
"You're Gonna Need a Man" 39 There's Something About a Lady
"My Woman's Love" 68
"Let Me Go (Set Me Free)" 27 43
1971 "There's Something About a Lady" 19
"One Night of Love" 39 Sweet Country Woman
"Baby's Smile, Woman's Kiss" 12 You're Gonna Need a Man
1972 "Fools" 19 16 Sweet Country Woman
"Here We Go Again" 66 Single only
1973 "Sweet Country Woman" 6 8 Sweet Country Woman
"Talkin' with My Lady" 18 42 The Best
1974 "The Pillow" 47 The Best Is Yet to Come
"Scarlet Water" 66 The Best
1975 "Charley Is My Name" 57 Johnny Duncan
"Jo and the Cowboy" 26 28 The Best
1976 "Gentle Fire" 86
"Stranger" 4 13
"Thinkin' of a Rendezvous" 1 1 Johnny Duncan
1977 "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better" 1 1
"A Song in the Night"A 5 5 Come a Little Bit Closer
"Come a Little Bit Closer" (w/ Janie Fricke) 4 2
1978 "She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed (Anytime)" 1 1 The Best Is Yet to Come
"Hello Mexico (And Adios Baby to You)" 4 7
1979 "Slow Dancing" 6 8 See You When the Sun Goes Down
"The Lady in the Blue Mercedes" 9 21 Straight from Texas
1980 "Play Another Slow Song" 17 31
"I'm Gonna Love You Tonight (In My Dreams)" 17 48 In My Dreams
"He's Out of My Life" (w/ Janie Fricke) 17 20 Nice'n Easy
"Acapulco" 16 You're on My Mind
1981 "All Night Long" 40 Single only
1986 "The Look of a Lady in Love" 69 Faraway Hideaway
"Texas Moon" 81


  1. ^ "Country singer Johnny Duncan dies". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. August 15, 2006.
  2. ^ "Country singer Johnny Duncan dies". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. August 15, 2006.
  3. ^ Johnny Duncan at Allmusic

External links[edit]