Billy Joe Royal

April 3, 1942-October 6, 2015 (aged 73)
Valdosta, Georgia, United States

Marietta, North Carolina, United States

Sad news last night , I read the news from Nashville, that the dynamic and soulful singer, Billy Joe Royal, passed away yesterday at age 73, in his sleep, at his home in North Carolina. Billy Joe's gorgeous voice defined some of my very favorite songs of all time... Billy Joe's famous hits were "Hush," "Cherry Hill Park," "Down in the Boondocks, I Knew You When"...AND MY VERY FAVORITE......

Arrangements are still pending and I will update this story when they are finalized. RIP Billy Joe.....thank you..

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and many fans...

Here is Billy Joe Royal's Biography

Royal was born into a family of musical entertainers in Valdosta, GA, and made his debut on his uncle's radio show at the age of 11. He learned to play steel guitar and joined the Georgia Jubilee in Atlanta at 14, performing with Joe South, Jerry Reed, and Ray Stevens, among several other artists.

Royal had his own rock & roll band in high school and was regularly singing around Atlanta by the age of 16. He also spent time in Savannah, where he was influenced by African-American vocal styles and began to develop his distinctive vocal sound. Performing at a nightclub that also booked Sam Cooke and other African-American stars,

Royal observed their vocal moves and began to practice them on his own time. In 1962, he recorded an independent single that went unnoticed. Royal and South roomed together for a time, and two or three years later South contacted him with a song he wanted Royal to sing as a demo, in the hope that Gene Pitney would record it.

Royal flew from Cincinnati (where he was working at the time) to Atlanta and cut "Down in the Boondocks," whose churchy echo resulted from the use during recording of a large septic tank that had been dragged into the studio. Read Full Bio on ALLMUSIC

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