Terry Stafford

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Terry Stafford
Singer Terry L. Stafford.jpg
Stafford early in his singing career
Background information
Birth name Terry LaVerne Stafford
Born (1941-11-22)November 22, 1941
Hollis, Harmon County
Oklahoma, United States
Died March 17, 1996(1996-03-17) (aged 54)
Amarillo, Texas
Genres Country, pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 1964–1996
Labels Crusader, Atlantic

Terry LaVerne Stafford (November 22, 1941 – March 17, 1996)[1] was an American singer and songwriter, best known for his 1964 U.S. Top 10 hit, "Suspicion", and the 1973 country music hit, "Amarillo by Morning". Stafford is best known for his Elvis Presley sound alike voice.


Stafford was the only son with two daughters of William Nathan "Bill" Stafford (1921-2011), a United States Navy veteran of World War II and a construction worker,[2] and the former Juanita J. Roach (1919-2001). He, like his mother, was born in rural Hollis in Harmon County in the southwestern corner of Oklahoma. Mrs. Stafford was a lens grinder for an optical company and worked in a laundry.[3] Stafford was reared in Amarillo, Texas, and graduated there in 1960 from Palo Duro High School. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a musical career.[4]

The song "Suspicion", which was released on the Crusader record label and which had previously been recorded by Elvis Presley, made it to No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 31 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] "Suspicion" had the distinction of being sixth on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 1964, when the Beatles held down the top five spots. The following week, "Suspicion" peaked at No. 3, with the Beatles holding three of the top five spots. Stafford's recording sold over one million copies,[1] and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.[5] His follow-up, "I’ll Touch a Star", rose to number 25 in America. Both recordings were produced by Bob Summers (brother-in-law of Les Paul), who played all the instruments on the tracks as well as engineering and recording them, except for bass which was played by Ron Griffith. Summers released his own version in the 1970s as well as a remake with Ed Greenwald on vocals in 2008.

In 1969, Buck Owens re-wrote Stafford's "Big in Dallas", recording it as "Big in Vegas". Owens' version peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.[6] and reached No. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.[7]

Stafford himself continued to record, but had no more hits. His 1973 release/joint composition, "Amarillo by Morning" was later covered by George Strait on Strait's 1982 album Strait from the Heart. The song was named "#12 country song of all-time" by Country Music Television.

Stafford lived most of his life between Los Angeles, California, and Amarillo, Texas, and died in Amarillo of liver failure, a the age of 54. He had two sisters, Linda Williams of Amarillo and Judy Snead of Hendersonville, Tennessee. He is interred along with his parents at Llano Cemetery in Amarillo. His mother's obituary lists Nancy Stafford of Orange County, California, presumably Stafford's widow, as a survivor,[3] but neither she nor Stafford's brother-in-law, Ed Snead, are mentioned a decade later in his father's death notice.[2] Stafford's widow is apparently Nancy E. Stafford (born c. 1944), daughter of Oregon native Isabel Rose Hall White Stiglbauer (1919-2003), with father J. Elbert Hall (1917-1949), brother Gary Warren Hall (1942-1973), and stepfather Lawrence J. Stiglbauer (1913-1994).[8][9]

On April 11, 2015, the West Texas Historical Association, at its 92nd annual meeting held at Amarillo College in Amarillo, hosted Professor Joe Weldon Specht (born c. 1944) of McMurry University of Abilene, Texas, in a presentation entitled, "Amarillo by Morning: The Life and Songs of Terry Stafford".[10]



Year Album US Label
1964 Suspicion! 81 Crusader
1973 Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose Atlantic


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1964 "Suspicion" 3 4 Suspicion!
"I'll Touch a Star" 25 4 10
"Follow the Rainbow" 101
1973 "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose" 35 46 Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose
"Amarillo by Morning" 31 38
1974 "Captured" 24 39
"Stop If You Love Me" 69 singles only
1977 "It Sure Is Bad to Love Her" 94
1989 "Lonestar Lonesome" 89


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 523. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ a b "Amarillo Globe-News". August 30, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Juanita J. Roach Stafford". The Amarillo Globe-News. June 21, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Terry LaVerne Stafford". findagrave.com. June 25, 2005. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 183. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  6. ^ "Buck Owens singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "RPM Country Singles for January 24, 1970". RPM. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Nancy E. Stafford". intelius.com. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Isabel Rose Hall White Stiglbauer". findagrave.com. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  10. ^ ""Panhandlers of Note"" (PDF). West Texas Historical Association. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 846. ISBN 0-89820-188-8. 

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