John D. Loudermilk

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John D. Loudermilk (born March 31, 1934 in Durham , North Carolina , † September 21, 2016 in Christiana , Rutherford County , Tennessee ) was an American country singer and songwriter . He has written numerous great hits in country and pop music, with other interpreters having more success with his compositions than himself.


John D. Loudermilk (aka Johnny Dee) - Sittin 'in the Balcony

John D. Loudermilk, a younger cousin of the Louvin Brothers (Ira and Charlie Loudermilk), began his musical career with a band of the Salvation Army , where he learned to play the trumpet, trombone and saxophone. In 1945 he appeared on the radio for the first time, a year later he won a talent competition directed by Tex Ritter . At a local TV station he worked as a stage assistant and at the same time as a musician in the house orchestra. In 1955 he wrote the sentimental song A Rose and a Baby Ruth about a boy who could only give his girl a rose and a candy bar ( Baby Ruth brand ). In October 1956, reluctantly took on George Hamilton IV. The song and made it with four million copies sold for million-seller .

This enormous initial success encouraged the multi-instrumentalist Loudermilk to record himself on the small label Colonial Records under the pseudonym Johnny Dee (the initials of his real name). In February 1957 Sittin 'in the Balcony was created , which immediately reached the pop charts in March 1957 and rose to number 38 there. A week later, Eddie Cochran launched his version and made it to number 18 on the charts with his cover version . Loudermilk now had to choose between his own career as a singer-songwriter or as a mere composer for other performers. After a failed performance in 1957, he left the stage with his guitar knowing that from now on he would only be a songwriter.


Encouraged by the early success as a composer, Loudermilk began to write more songs. On September 29, 1958, Roy Orbison , who had just switched to RCA Records, recorded the Loudermilk composition I'll Never Tell , which, however, did not help the stylistically disoriented Orbison. In May 1959 Loudermilk wrote for Stonewall Jackson Waterloo, which reached number one on the country charts and was a million seller; With a fourth place on the Loudermilks pop chart, it was the best ranking so far. In a clever analogy, the song uses military terms to describe a love affair. Then the Nashville music publisher Cedarwood Music finally took him under contract. The strong orientation towards country music is also expressed in Amigo's Guitar when Kitty Wells reached number five on the country charts in August 1958. At the same time, Cherokee-born Marvin Rainwater brought the song Half Breed ('Halbblut') through a convincing presentation to number 16 on the country charts. Again Marvin Rainwater then recorded a song composed by John D. Loudermilk on December 9, 1959, entitled The Pale Faced Indian , which was released in January 1960. This is the original recording of the socially critical lament about the fate of the Indians, which was later renamed in Indian Reservation . The time for this did not seem ripe yet, and therefore the song initially received no response.

Loudermilk moved to the renowned Acuff-Rose Music- Verlag in 1961 . In the same year he signed a record deal with RCA Victor . His first single there, Language of Love , reached number 32 on the US charts. That remained his highest ranking because his own singles continued to not sell particularly well. All the more successful were other interpreters with his songs. The Everly Brothers were able to work their way up to eighth place in the pop charts with the controversial, melodramatic death song Ebony Eyes (B-side of Walk Right Back ) in January 1961.

Almost an entire record career was then built on song material from Loudermilk. Sue Thompson first sang the million-seller Sad Movies (Make Me Cry) (August 1961, 5th place in the pop charts), before her commercial breakthrough with Norman in November 1961 (third place). Later titles such as James (Hold the Ladder Steady) (September 1962) or Paper Tiger (January 1965) could no longer cement the initial success.

In addition to the controversial death song Ebony Eyes , Loudermilk had written other successful B-sides, including Heaven Fell Last Night (B-side of The Browns ' The Three Bells; July 1959), Weep No More My Baby (from Brenda Lee's hit Sweet Nothin's; December 1959) or Stayin 'In ( Bobby Vees More Than I Can Say; February 1961). All of This for Sally (Mark Dinning), The Guitar Player (Him And Her) for Jimmy Justice and To Hell with Love ( Adam Faith ) were less successful . He arranged the old composition Abilene for George Hamilton IV, which hit the charts in June 1963 and became a country standard.

Eddy Arnold - Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

Other country hits he wrote were Talk Back Trembling Lips ( Ernest Ashworth was Country No. 1 in June 1963, and Johnny Tillotson in November 1963), Bad News ( Johnny Cash , July 1964 and Boxcar Willie , May 1982) , Break My Mind (George Hamilton IV., July 1967) or You're Ruinin 'My Life ( Hank Williams Jr. ). He also wrote songs for Bob Luman , including The File (July 1964). He helped Glen Campbell's first number one country hit with I Wanna Live in April 1968. Eddy Arnold had a number one country hit with Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye after it was released in September 1968. Sue Thompson and alone George Hamilton IV have both recorded more than 20 Loudermilk titles. From Tobacco Road , there are reportedly between 150 and 200 versions. Gus Backus , an American who worked mainly in Germany, as well as other foreign artists used material by John D. Loudermilk, such as Drafi Deutscher , Lolita , Margot Eskens , Paul Kuhn , The Lords or Orlando Riva Sound .

John D. Loudermilk's compositions spanned a wide range of music, including pop, country and rock'n'roll, such as Tobacco Road, which has been covered by numerous rock musicians . He was still less successful as an interpreter, although many singles and albums have been released over the years. His biggest hit in October 1961 was Language of Love . Loudermilk developed a soft spot for obscure content.

The Loudermilk composition Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) has become a long-running hit over the years. Marvin Rainwater first recorded this number on December 9, 1959 as "The Pale Faced Indian". Almost six years later, on September 15, 1965, Loudermilk made his own version for his album John D. Loudermilk Sings a Bizarre Collection of the Most Unusual Songs (published November 1966). Don Fardon was the first to pick up the song in October 1970, reaching number 3 on a GB chart in Great Britain, number 20 in the USA and number place in Germany, making it a million seller. This was also achieved by the rock band Raiders , which came to number one on the US pop charts after its release in February 1971. Loudermilk left RCA Victor in 1971 and joined Warner Brothers. In 1976, John D. Loudermilk was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame . A total of 441 compositions are copyright-registered for John D. Loudermilk at BMI .

Discography - Singles (date of recording in brackets)

Singles by John D. Loudermilk

Colonial Records:

  • Sittin 'in the Balcony / A-Plus in Love (Colonial 430) (March 1957), January 1957
  • Teenage Queen / It's Gotta Be You (Colonial 433) (May 1957) April 1957
  • 1,000 Concrete Blocks / In My Simple Way (Colonial 435) (May 1957), July 1957
  • Asiatic Flu / That's All I've Got (Colonial 436) (August 22, 1957), October 1957
  • Somebody Sweet / They Were Right (Colonial 722) (September 1957) January 1958

Columbia Records:

  • Susie's House / Yearbook (Columbia 4-41165) (March 27, 1958), April 1958
  • Yo-Yo / Lover's Lane (Columbia 4-41209) (March 27, 1958), July 14, 1958
  • This Cold War with You / Goin 'Away to School (Columbia 4-41247) (August 14, 1958) September 1958
  • The Happy Wanderer (Val-de Ri-Val-de Ra) / Red Headed Stranger (Columbia 4-41507) (August 27, 1959), October 1959
  • Tobacco Road / Midnight Bus (Columbia 4-41562) (December 15, 1959), January 1960

RCA Victor Records:

  • Language of Love / Darling Jane (RCA Victor 47-7938) (March 23, 1961), October 1961
  • Thou Shalt Not Steal / Mister Jones (RCA Victor 47-7993) (January 9, 1962 / July 6, 1961) February 1962
  • Calling Dr. Casey / Oh, How Sad (RCA Victor 47-8054) (July 19, 1962), July 1962
  • Road Hog / Angela Jones (RCA Victor 47-8101) (April 26, 1962 / March 28, 1961), October 1962
  • Bad News / Guitar Player (RCA Victor 47-8154) (Jan 18, 1963) March 1963
  • Blue Train (Of the Heartbreak Line) / Rhythm And Blues (RCA Victor 47-8308) (April 17, 1961), February 1964
  • Th 'Wife / Nothing to Gain (RCA Victor 47-8389) (October 24, 1963), July 1964
  • That Ain't All / Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye (RCA Victor 47-8579) (October 21, 1963), May 1965
  • Silver Cloud Talkin 'Blues / Run On Home, Baby Brother (RCA Victor 47-8826) (February 8, 1966 / October 24, 1963), April 1966
  • You're the Guilty One / I Hear It Now (RCA Victor 47-8973) (September 15, 1965 / February 8, 1966), October 1966
  • It's My Time / Bahama Mama (RCA Victor 47-9189) (February 1967), May 1967
  • The Old Folks of Okracoke / Sidewalks (RCA Victor 47-9592) (May 1968), August 1968
  • Brown Girl / The Jones' (RCA Victor 74-0121) (October 20, 1965 / November 1968), February 1969

Warner Brothers:

  • Lord Have Mercy / When I Was Nine (WB 7489) (February 1971), May 1971

Music Is Medicine Records:

  • Every Day I Learn a Little More About Love / What Would It Take (# 002), 1979

Selection of compositions for other performers

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame Member John D. Loudermilk Dies At 82 - See more at: -john-dl # sthash.FG86OOlW.dpuf
  2. ^ Leigh Donaldson, in: American Songwriter, June 16, 2009
  3. Cher 's title of the same name is a different composition
  4. BMI entry for John D. Loudermilk  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /