Song:Down In The Boondocks
Album:The Very Best Of: The Columbia Years (1965-1972)
Billy Joe Royal scored his only top ten pop hit with Down in The Boondocks in 1965. Later on he had success in country music. He was born Apr. 3, 1942 in Valdosta, GA. His parents were entertainers and Royal appeared on his uncle's radio program at age 11. As a teen, Royal performed in Georgia Jubilee with guys like Joe South, Jerry Reed and Ray Stevens and he had his own rock band. Royal recorded a single in 1962. South wrote Down In The Boondocks and he asked Royal to record a demo of the song. He wanted to sell it to Gene Pitney. So the idea was for Royal to sound like Pitney. Columbia Records signed Royal and Down In The Boondocks was his first single in 1965. The song reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. South produced Royal's debut album and wrote most of the songs and he later went on to have his own hit singles. Royal scored a couple more top 20 hits with I Knew You When and the 1969 hit Cherry Hill Park which was produced by Buddy Buie of Classics IV and The Atlanta Rhythm Section. Royal left Columbia in 1972 and performed frequently in Las Vegas in the 70s. You can get all of Royal's Columbia hits on this comp from Tarragon Records. Beware of re-recordings from off labels. In the 80s, Royal bounced around a few labels before he landed with Atlantic in 1986. He had four top five country hits including his 1989 cover of Aaron Neville's Tell It like It Is. Royal left Atlantic in 1992 and he recorded for Intersound and he continued to tour until his death on Oct. 6, 2015 at age 73. Down In The Boondocks may have been Billy Joe Royal's only top ten pop hit but it holds up very well today. Here's Billy Joe Royal performing Down In The Boondocks on Hullabaloo 1965.