Billy Deaton, Faron Young’s Longtime Manager, Dead at 74

Billy Deaton, who served as Country Music Hall of Fame member Faron Young’s manager for 26 years, died Saturday (Oct. 31) in Nashville following a long illness. He was 74. Born near Ruleville, Miss., Deaton became interested in the music business in the mid-1950s while working as a disc jockey for the Armed Forces Radio Network. He formed his first band when he was stationed in Iceland with the U.S. Air Force. Deaton recorded briefly as a solo act for Smash Records and, after completing his military service, continued in radio as an advertising salesman and DJ. He also began booking local bands, an activity that eventually brought him to the attention of rising country star Faron Young. After Young died in 1996, Deaton continued as a talent booker and music publisher. In 1998, the Nashville Association of Talent Directors established the Billy Deaton Scholarship Fund for students in the music business curriculum at Nashville’s Belmont University.