Singer Billy Joe Royal died suddenly yesterday in his sleep at his home in North Carolina. He was 73.
The Georgia native had several hits during the mid to late 1960’s penned by Joe South such as “Down in The Boondocks” (please see video), “I Knew You When“, “Hush” (which later became a hit for Deep Purple) and his biggest hit “Cherry Hill Park“.
During the 1980’s & 1990’s, Royal turned his attention to country music and had a hit with a cover of “Tell It Like It Is” (originally made famous by Aaron Neville), “I’ll Pin a Note on Your Pillow” and “Burned Like a Rocket“. Unfortunately for Royal, this song was withdrawn by Atlantic Records following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986.
In recent years, Royal played on the oldies circuit and was set to resume touring next month.
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