Monday, December 23, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Leroy Van Dyke

Artist:Leroy Van Dyke
Song:Walk On By
Album:Pure Country Classics: The #1 Hits

Walk On By was a number one country hit and a top five pop hit for Leroy Van Dyke in 1961. This is not to be confused with the Burt Bacharach & Hal David song Walk On By that was a hit for Dionne Warwick. He had a couple of other big hits and he is also known for his auctioneering skills. He was born Oct. 4, 1929 in Mora, MO. Van Dyke wanted to be a farmer and graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in agriculture journalism. His cousin Ray Sims is a hall of fame auctioneer and he taught that skill to Van Dyke. And Van Dyke also worked as a newspaper reporter. After a stint in the Korean War, Van Dyke wrote The Auctioneer about his cousin and displayed his own auctioneering skills. The single was released by Dot Records and reached #9 on the Country Singles chart in 1956. Then he went back to farming and auctioneering. Van Dyke moved to Nashville in 1961 and signed with Mercury Records producer Shelby Singleton. Aspiring singer songwriter Kendall Hayes was trying to sell Walk On By. When he pitched it to music publisher Gary Walker, Walker added the line "Wait on the corner" to the chorus and declared that it would be a hit. Both Singleton and Van Dyke loved the song. It topped the Billboard Country Singles chart for 19 weeks, a long standing record that was just recently broken by Florida Georgia Line. And it also reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Van Dyke's biggest hit and though Kendall Hayes performed at the Grand Ole Opry for years, I guess he made a good living from Walk On By royalties. Donna Fargo (1980) and Asleep At The Wheel (1988) charted with covers of Walk On By. Van Dyke's other big country hit was If A Woman Answers (Hang Up The Phone) in 1962. You can get Walk on By from this Universal various artists budget comp. Van Dyke left Mercury in 1964 and also recorded for Warner Bros., MGM and Kapp. He hasn't recorded regularly since 1977. In the 70s, Van Dyke was one of the first country artists to offer a complete performance package to Las Vegas hotels. He was a big draw there. And when Branson, MO opened up, he opened one of the first theaters. He owns a farm in Sedalia, MO and kept up his auctioneering skills too. His website hasn't been updated since 2007 so I guess Van Dyke retired. Here's Leroy Van Dyke performing Walk On By on National Life Presents Grand Ole Opry Aug. 1965.

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