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Billy Joe Royal dies, leaving fans "Down in the Boondocks"

Billy Joe Royal, 73, died in his sleep Tuesday in North Carolina

Billy Joe Royal, 73, died in his sleep Tuesday in North Carolina



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.



[Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2015 11:28am]


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