Singer-songwriter Roy Drusky, who scored a dozen Top 10 country hits during the ’60s, died Thursday morning (Sept. 23) at a nursing home in Portland, Tenn., following a lengthy illness. He was 74.
Drusky’s biggest hits include “Another” (1960), “Three Hearts in a Tangle” (1961) and “Second Hand Rose (1962). His sole No. 1 single came in 1965 with “Yes, Mr. Peters,” a duet with Priscilla Mitchell, a singer who later married Jerry Reed.
Born Roy Frank Drusky Jr., on June 22, 1930, in Atlanta, he began his music endeavors at a relatively late age after buying his first guitar while serving in the Navy. Once claiming that he “ate, slept and breathed baseball,” Drusky formed his first band after an unsuccessful tryout for the Cleveland Indians. He also enrolled in Atlanta’s Emory University to begin studies in veterinary medicine. Making extra money performing in his band, the Southern Ranch Boys, Drusky was offered his own show on radio station WEAS in Decatur, Ga.
During the ’50s, Drusky recorded for the Starday and Columbia record labels, but none of his early singles made it to the charts. Moving to Minneapolis to work as a disc jockey on radio station KEVE, Drusky continued writing songs and gained attention in the music industry when he wrote “Alone With You,” Faron Young’s single that spent 13-weeks at No. 1 in 1958. Drusky also wrote Young’s “Country Girl,” a single that topped the chart for four weeks in 1959.
Decca Records executive Owen Bradley signed him to the label in 1958. At Decca, Drusky co-wrote his first two hits — “Another” and “Anymore” — both released in 1960. Drusky had moved to Mercury Records by the time he recorded “Yes, Mr. Peters,” a duet that stayed at No. 1 for two weeks. Drusky continued to record for Mercury through the early ’70s, releasing the Top 10 hits “Long Long Texas Road” and “All My Hard Times.” He later charted singles on the Capitol and Scorpion labels.
Drusky appeared in three country music movies — White Lightning Express, Forty Acre Feud and Golden Guitar. He also produced other artists and was instrumental in establishing SESAC, helping establish the performance rights organization’s Nashville office. A Grand Ole Opry member since 1958, Drusky’s most recent music endeavors include five gospel albums on the Chapel/Bridge label.
No funeral service will take place, although a memorial service is being planned.