PopBopRocktilUDrop

From the Land of Band Box Records

From Memphis to Nashville

and the Pop Stops in Between…

Royden Lipscomb could have been a founding rocker – He could have been teen pop singer – He could have been a country singer – He could have been a composer.

In fact, he was all four!

Dickey “Lee” was born in 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee Royden Dickey Lipscomb.  It is safe to say that for many of us, Dickey Lee’s legacy lies firmly in the early 1960’s joining the “Bobby’s” the “Johnny’s” and the “Tommy’s” providing us with Brill Building-Like ditties.  And in for Dickey Lee, a few of those came in the form the ‘teen tragedy genre.

1962 was Dickey Lee’s launch pad year.  It would be the year that he composed his first big hit song and the same year that he would jump onto the nation’s pop charts.

But let’s back up a bit.

Before any of this would happen, we have to return to Dickey Lee’s hometown of Memphis.  Lee first entered a recording studio in the summer of 1957 for the California-based Tampa Records where he would be backed by a group called “The Collegiates”.

“Dream Boy” did very well in Memphis, reaching number 2 on the local station where DJ Dewey Phillips who was broadcasting and staying there for 12 straight weeks.  It was likely the combination of the promotion efforts of Phillips along with another Memphis singer who heard the song and liked it, which resulted in Lee being contacted by Sam Phillips of Sun Records.

That singer was none other than Elvis Presley!  Dickey would enter the Sun Record studios in the Fall of 1957 to cut his first single for the famous label.  One more Sun single would follow and then Dickey’s recording career stalled for a time.

Phillip, Presely & Phillips – The Lee Connections

In May of 1960, he would resurface on the Dot Record label, this time taking obvious aim at the young pop market.  He recorded “Life In a Teenage World” a song composed by writer/singer Jack Clement who Lee most likely met during his brief time at Sun.  Clement wrote many songs for rockabilly and country artists and others over the years.

While at Sun, Clement composed “Ballad of a Teenage Queen”, “Guess Things Happen That Way” for Johnny Cash and then later when Cash moved to Columbia Records, composed the satirical “The One on the Right Is On the Left”.  He also composed “Miller’s Cave” a crossover hit for Bobby Bare.

“Guess Things Happen That Way” – Jack Clement

A full 2 years would transpire from Dickey’s short time with Dot Records until he landed at Smash Records in the Spring of 1962.  But a notable landing it was.  Dickey would take a Brill Building composition by Barry Mann and Larry Kolber – “Patches” – all the way to number 6.  Dickey was now officially a pop “teen” star even though he was now 26 years old!  Dickey’s friend Jack Clement would participate in the production duties on “Patches”.  Mann and Kolber had teamed up to compose the 1961 Paris Sisters’ hit “I Love How You Love Me”.  Kolber co-wrote the Kalin Twins’ 1958 hit “Forget Me Not”.

Image result for larry kolber and barry mann

The Late Larry Kolber

After “Patches” Lee would continue in the teen pop genre, first with a two sided hit “I Saw Linda Yesterday” (number 14) backed with “I Don’t Wanna Think About Paula” (number 68).  Lee teamed with song writer Allen Reynolds on both songs.  Reynolds would later write “5 ‘O Clock World” for the Vogues and would pen many country hits for various singers including Crystal Gale, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Pride and Don Williams.  Like Jack Clement, Reynolds had cut his teeth at Sun Records.

Another “Sun Buddy” Allen Reynolds

Dickey could never quite shake his country leanings, as his composition of “She Thinks I Still Care” would go to number 1 Country for George Jones and remain there for six straight weeks. Connie would alter the lyrics a bit with “He Thinks I Still Care” and chart at number 57 Hot 100 also in 1962.  Later, Anne Murray would take it once again to number 1 Country in 1974.

There would be more pop hits for Lee, most notably 1965’s “Laurie (Strange Things Happen”) number 14 Hot 100.  But the hits would dry up until Dickey penned a little bouncy ditty which would grace the charts for Delaney at number 13 Hot 100 in 1971 with “Never Ending Song Of Love”.  Dickey Lee’s version would fare quite well on the country charts at number 8 and would set him on a course doing country for the next decade placing 29 songs on the “Hot Country Songs” charts.

Never Ending…. The Bramletts

During that run he would have one number 1 country hit, “Rocky” a song which was covered by Austin Roberts who took it to number 9 on the Hot 100 side.

Image result for austin roberts singer

Austin Roberts – Don’t Be a Hero!

Roberts emerged from the 1970’s group called “Arkade” who had a couple of minor hits in 1970 and 1971 “Sing Out The Love” and “The Morning Of Our Lives”.  In 1972 Roberts sang the number 12 hit “Something’s Wrong With Me” a song which was co-written by Bobby Hart of Boyce and Hart.

So Dickey Lee made the smooth transition from pop star to country musician and composer.  In fact, Lee’s country music composing credits probably should be considered his lasting legacy.  Besides George Jones and Anne Murray’s number 1 country hits, Charlie Pride, Dave and Sugar, Elvis Presley, Reba McEntire, John Schneider, Doug Stone and George Strait would all enjoy number 1 hits from the pen or co-pen of Dickey Lee!

Dickey Lee’s Number One’s: Doug Stone – John Schneider – Dave & Sugar – Reba – Charlie Pride – George Strait

During Lee’s country run, he would ‘cross over’ only one time and that would be with the late 1976 ditty “9,999,999 Tears” which went to number 53 Hot 100 and number 3 Country.  I like the song – again another bouncy hit – satisfying my need for “bouncy” as “Never Ending Song Of Love” had provided me with earlier!

Dickey himself would record one country number 1, and that would be his version of “Rocky”.

Dickey Lee continues on today – still performing country and he has from time to time migrated back to his pop music days – touring in oldies revivals with Fabian, the late Bobby Vee and the Shirelles.  He is an inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

When not performing or composing, he conducts music seminars – Indeed, a long, productive and fulfilling life!

Dickey Lee Selective Discography

45 – Sun 280 – Good Lovin’ b/w Memories Never Grow Old – October, 1957

(First Recording)

45 – Smash 1758 – Patches – Charted Number 6 Hot 100 – May 1962

45 – Smash 1791 – I Saw Linda Yesterday – Charted Number 14 Hot 100

45 – Smash 1808 – Don’t Wanna Think About Paula – Charted Number 68 Hot 100 – February, 1963

45 – Smash 1844 – The Day The Saw-Mill Closed Down – Charted Number 104 Bubbling Under Charts – August, 1963

45 – Hall 1924 – She’s Walking Away – Charted Number 101 Bubbling Under Charts – October, 1964

45 – TCF Hall 102 – Laurie (Strange Things Happen) – Charted Number 14 Hot 100 – April, 1965

45 – TCF Hall 111 – The Girl From Peyton Place – Charted Number 73 Hot 100 – August, 1965

45 – Atco 6546 – Red, Green, Yellow, Blue – Charted Number 107 Bubbling Under Charts – December, 1967

45 – RCA Victor 47-9988 – The Mahongany Pulpit – Charted Number 55 Country – 1971

(Dickey Lee’s first appearance on the Country charts)

45 – RCA Victor 48-1013 – Never Ending Song Of Love – Charted Number 8 Country – August, 1971

45 – RCA Victor 74-0623 – I Saw My Lady – Charted Number 25 Country – December, 1971

45 – RCA Victor 74-0710 – Ashes Of Love – Charted Number 15 Country – April, 1972

45 – RCA Victor 74-0798 – Baby, Bye Bye – Charted Number 31 Country – September, 1972

45 – RCA Victor 74-0892 – Crying Over You – Charted Number 43 Country – March, 1973

45 – RCA Victor 74-0980 – Put Me Down Softly – Charted Number 30 Country – June, 1973

45 – RCA Victor APBO-0082 – Charted Number 49 Country – September, 1973

45 – RCA Victor APBO 0227 – I Use The Soap – Charted Number 46 Country – February, 1974

45 – RCA Victor PB-10014 – Give Me One Good Reason – Charted Number 90 Country – July, 1974

45 – RCA Victor PB-10091 – The Busiest Memory In Town – Charted Number 22 Country – October, 1974

45 – RCA Victor PB-10361 – Rocky – Charted Number 1 – August, 1975

45 – RCA Victor PB-10543 – Angels, Roses, and Rain – Charted Number 9 Country – January, 1976

45 – RCA Victor PB-10684 – Makin’ Love Don’t Always Make Love Grow – Charted Number 35 Country – May, 1976

45 – RCA Victor PB-10764 – 9,999,999 Tears – Charted Number 3 Country – Number 53 Hot 100 – November, 1976

45 – RCA Victor PB-10914 – If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody – Charted Number 20 Country – February, 1977

45 – RCA Victor PB-11009 – Virginia How Far Will You Go – Charted Number 22 Country – May, 1977

45 – RCA Victor PB-11125 – Peanut Butter – Charted Number 21 Country – October, 1977

45 – RCA Victor PB-11191 – Love Is A Word – Charted Number 22 Country – February, 1978

45 – RCA Victor PB-11294 – My Heart Won’t Cry Anymore – Charted Number 49 Country – July, 1978

45 – RCA Victor PB-11389 – It’s Not Easy – Charted Number 58 Country – October, 1978

45 – Mercury 55068 – I’m Just A Heartache Away – Charted Number 58 Country – July, 1979

45 – Mercury 57005 – He’s An Old Rock N’ Roller – Charted Number 94 Country – October, 1979

45 – Mercury 57017 – Don’t Look Back – Charted Number 61 Country – March, 1980

45 – Mercury 57027 – Workin’ My Way To Your Heart – Charted Number 30 Country – July, 1980

45 – Mercury 57036 – Lost In Love – Charted Number 30 Country – October, 1980

45 – Mercury 57052 – Honky Tonk Hearts – Charted Number 37 Country – June, 1981

45 – Mecury 57056 – I Wonder If I Care As Much – Charted Number 53 Country – August, 1981

45 – Mercury 76129 – Everybody Loves A Winner – Charted Number 56 Country – January, 1982

(This would be Dickey Lee’s final chart record)

Dickey Lee LP Discography

LP – Smash 27020 – Patches – Charted Number 50 Hot LP’s – November, 1962

LP – TCF Hall 8001 – Laurie and the Girl From Peyton Place – Did Not Chart – 1965

LP – RCA Victor 4637 – Never Ending Song Of Love – Charted Number 12 Country – 1971

LP – RCA Victor 4715 – Ashes Of Love – Charted Number 16 Country 1972

LP – RCA Victor 4857 – Crying Over You – Charted Number 42 Country – 1973

LP – RCA Victor 1-1243 – Rocky – Charted Number 8 Country – 1975

LP – RCA Victor 1-1725 – Angels, Roses and Rain – Charted Number 27 Country – 1976

(This would be Dickey Lee’s final charting long play)

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