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Gene Watson's peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers who were contacted during 2006 were most gracious with their time and words. It is here, within this special part of the Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Billy Swan, which he submitted to this site on Tuesday 1 August 2006.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Billy Swan who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Tuesday 1 August 2006.
'I think Gene Watson is one of the very best country stylists/singers around.
Thanks so much for asking me to provide a quote'.
Thank you, Billy Swan, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Billy Swan...
Billy Swan, who was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in May 1942 and grew up listening to country music until he discovered rock and roll as a teenager. He learned drums, piano and guitar and also began writing songs. 'Lover Please', a song he wrote when he was sixteen years old, was recorded by a local group he played with called Mirt Mirly And The Rhythm Stoppers.
Later, when Billy Swan's friends travelled to Memphis to record with Elvis bassist Bill Black, Black wound up cutting the tune himself. Not long after, 'Lover Please' found its way to R&B star Clyde McPhatter, who turned it into a Top Ten hit in 1962.
Billy Swan stayed in Memphis to write for Black's combo and also worked as a guard at Graceland for a time. He soon moved to Nashville, where he worked as a janitor at the Columbia recording studios (later handing the job over to a young Kris Kristofferson) and later as a roadie for Mel Tillis; Billy also wrote songs recorded by Mel Tillis, Conway Twitty (Friday 1 September 1933 - Saturday 5 June 1993) and Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 - Wednesday 13 February 2002).
Mel Tillis recorded Billy Swan's 'Buried Alive' and included the track on 'Stateside' (Kapp Records, 1966).
Conway Twitty (Friday 1 September 1933 - Saturday 5 June 1993) recorded Billy Swan's 'Sensitive Heart' and included the track on 'Here's Conway Twitty' (Decca Records, 1968).
Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 - Wednesday 13 February 2002) recorded Billy Swan's 'I Fall In Love So Easily' (co-written with Glenn Martin) and included the track on 'Hangin On' (RCA Records, 1968).
An association with Monument Records led to Billy Swan's first gig as a record producer; he was nominated to produce Tony Joe White's debut album, 'Black & White' (Monument Records, 1969). The album included 'Polk Salad Annie', which reached No.8 on the American pop music singles chart in 1969.
'Polk Salad Annie' was subsequently recorded by Elvis Presley (Tuesday 8 January 1935 - Tuesday 16 August 1977) and included on 'On Stage: February 1970' (RCA Victor, 1970).
In 1971, Billy Swan joined Kris Kristofferson's backing band as the bass player and toured with him for the next year and a half. Billy Swan next served as a sideman for Kinky Friedman and Billy Joe Shaver, and shortly after his return to Kristofferson's band, he got a recording deal of his own with Monument Records.
In 1974, Fred Foster signed Billy Swan to Monuments Records, where he enjoyed his biggest hit song, 'I Can Help' (No.1 for two weeks on the Billboard country music singles chart in December 1974). The song was also a huge hit on the pop music charts; it reached No.1 in America and No.6 in the UK.
The accompanying album, 'I Can Help' (Monument Records, 1974), also topped the country music album chart.
Johnny Russell (Tuesday 23 January 1940 - Tuesday 3 July 2001) recorded Billy Swan's 'Queen Of My Heart' (co-written with Benny Whitehead) and included the track on 'Rednecks, White Socks And Blue Ribbon Beer' (RCA Records, 1974).
Billy Swan never came close to duplicating the success of 'I Can Help', but he did reach the Billboard country music Top 20 with a 1975 single, 'Everything's The Same (Ain't Nothing Changed)', which was included on 'Rock And Roll Moon' (Monument Records, 1975).
Loretta Lynn recorded Billy Swan's 'I Can Help' and included the track on 'Back To The Country' (Decca Records, 1975).
Elvis Presley (Tuesday 8 January 1935 - Tuesday 16 August 1977) recorded Billy Swan's 'I Can Help' and included the track on 'Elvis Today' (RCA Records, 1975).
Billy Swan subsequently recorded three more albums for Monument Records; 'Billy Swan' (Monument Records, 1976), 'Four' (Monument Records, 1977) and 'Billy Swan: At His Best' (Monument Records, 1978).
Mel Tillis recorded Billy Swan's 'Not In Front Of The Kids' and included the track on 'The Great Mel Tillis' (Gusto Records, 1979).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Billy Swan recorded two albums; 'You're OK, I'm OK' (A&M Records, 1979) and 'I'm Into Lovin' You (Epic Records, 1981).
In 1983, Emmylou Harris recorded Billy Swan's 'Drivin' Wheel' and included the track on 'White Shoes' (Warner Bros. Records, 1983).
In 1986, Billy Swan teamed up with Randy Meisner in the country-rock band Black Tie, and saw the release of 'When The Night Falls' (Bench Records, 1986).
In the late 1980s, Billy Swan resumed work with Kris Kristofferson's band and appeared on two Kris Kristofferson albums; 'Repossessed' (Mercury Records, 1986) and 'Third World Warrior' (Mercury Records, 1990).
Aaron Tippin recorded Billy Swan's 'I Can Help' and included the track on 'Tool Box' (RCA Records, 1995).
Taking time out from his still-active career as a session and back-up musician, Billy Swan recorded a new album at the original Sun studios, 'Like Elvis Used to Do' (Koch Records, 2000).
In 2002, Billy Swan teamed up with Randy Meisner again, as well as Alan Rich, on a self-titled album, 'Meisner, Swan And Rich' (Revola Records, 2002).