Billy Joe Royal dies, leaving fans "Down in the Boondocks"
You always remember your first time. I was eight years old when it happened, during one of those summers that movies teach us children never forget.
My first brush with celebrity.
What did you think I meant?
Anyway, it was 1965 at a record store in Anniston, Ala. where Billy Joe Royal autographed a 45 RPM record of his biggest hit, Down in the Boondocks. Two-minutes and 32 seconds of romantic pop anguish, a boy in love with a girl from the right side of the tracks, whose daddy is his boss man. One fine day he'll find a way to move from his old shack. Hold his head up like a king and never look back.
Check out Royal's lipsynch version - as all TV shows did in those days - here.
Fifty years later the song sticks more than the memory of Royal scribbling his name on the 45's label. The record is somewhere at home, in a stack of other vinyl memories. Now seems like a good time to dig it out.
Billy Joe Royal died in his sleep Tuesday at age 73, at his North Carolina home.