Billy Gray - 1924-1975
In 1924 in Paris, Texas, Billy Gray was born. At 19 years
old, he purchased a guitar from a pawnshop and created his
first western swing style band. Billy was
the host of his own radio show in his hometown, and he and
his band toured around Texas and the Southwest for the next
Gray moved to Dallas in the early 1950s. There, he met
Hank Thompson, who had a band by the name of Thompson’s
Brazos Valley Boys. Gray became the bandleader and guitarist
for the band. Billy and Hank owned two publishing
companies, the Texoma Music Publishing Company and the
Brazos Valley Publishing Company. The two co-wrote songs,
some of which included "Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart",
"The New Wears Off Too Fast", and "A Fool, a Faker" which
became hits for Hank Thompson.
"You Can't Have My Love" was released as a duet with Wanda
Jackson in 1954. In 1955, Gray's next band, the
Western Oakies, released and album called "Dance-O-Rama".
His single, “Tennessee Toddy,” which was released in 1956,
has been reissued many times.
Gray was a guitarist for several bands, including the
Nuggets and the Cowtowners thoughout the 1950s and 1960s,
and also appeared on the TV. Billy made his last recording
in 1965 after which, he retired. Although he was
considered successful, he was never himself a star.
Billy Gray died in
1975, while undergoing heart surgery.