Terry Stafford

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Terry Stafford
Singer Terry L. Stafford.jpg
Stafford c. 1969
Terry LaVerne Stafford

(1941-11-22)November 22, 1941
Hollis, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedMarch 17, 1996(1996-03-17) (aged 54)
Amarillo, Texas, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Years active1963–1996
Musical career

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


Stafford was the only son 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 had two sisters, Linda Williams of Amarillo and Judy Snead of Hendersonville, Tennessee. 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.

The song "Suspicion", which was released on the Crusader record label and had previously been recorded by Elvis Presley, made it to no. 3 in the US 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.[4] 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.[5] and reached No. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.[6]

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, at the age of 54. 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).[7]

There is a record of Nancy E. Hall marrying Terry L. Stafford on 20 May 1972 in Las Vegas, Nevada [8]


Stafford died on March 17, 1996, after a lengthy illness.[9]



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. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b Amarillo Globe-News. June 21, 2001. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 183. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ "Buck Owens singles". AllMusic. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  6. ^ "RPM Country Singles for January 24, 1970". RPM. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  7. ^ "Nancy E. Stafford". Intelius.com. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "FamilySearch". Familysearch.org. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  9. ^ "Terry Stafford Suspicion Home Page".
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 846. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.

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