Billy Walker, the Grand Ole Opry legend whose hits included "Charlie's Shoes" and "Cross the Brazos at Waco" died in a wreck along an Alabama interstate Sunday. He was 77.
Walker was killed with three others when a van they were riding in ran off Interstate 65 south of Montgomery and overturned, state troopers said.
According to the Opry's Web site, Billy Walker was born in Ralls, Texas, and built an early career as the "Traveling Texan, the Masked Singer of Country Songs," and later shared the stage with Elvis Presley. Billy Walker joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960.
From Billy Walkers website:
It was Slim Whitman and Walker who assisted Elvis Presley in getting his first shot at the Louisiana Hayride. Walker remembers his first encounter with the “Hillbilly Cat” a.k.a. Elvis Presley. “ Here comes this good looking’ kid. Dressed in black pants with a pink coat and pink shoes to match.” Elvis asked if he could sing a song. “I just stood there sort of in suspended animation until this kid goes out on stage and BANG! Instant electricity.” The Tall Texan remarked. This would mark the first of many encounters with the King. In 1955 Tillman Franks, Billy and Elvis joined together and toured West Texas. A young outlaw by the name of Waylon Jennings was their poster boy. Waylon assisted in promotion of the tour. Walker would later introduce a shy Elvis to his old friend Roy Orbison.
Billy Walker's million seller "Charlie's Shoes" was just recently selected as one of The Top 100 Hot Country Singles of All Time.
Source: Various / Updated: May 22, 2006