Hall of Fame singer/songwriter, Dickey Lee, will be bringing his enormous talent to the Ford Center on Thursday, September 7th in conjunction with Nashville Songwriters Night. Joining Dickey will be Pat Alger and Roxie Dean. HottyToddy.com caught up with Dickey recently while he was in Memphis.
HottyToddy.com: Dickey, you are like the “energizer bunny”, in that you just keep going non-stop. How many performances have you given?
Dickey Lee: Steve, it has to be thousands. Starting in 1970, I was probably doing 100-150 annually. I have performed in 49 states only missing Alaska. And I have performed internationally including most of Europe throughout my career.
HottyToddy.com: Regarding your upcoming performance here in Oxford. will your emphasis be on your pop side or on the country music side of the equation?
Dickey Lee: It will be a combination. This type show works well for me. In the 70’s Rock n Roll changed, going more psychedelic which greatly influenced me at the time to go country.
HottyToddy.com: Shifting gears to one of your mega-hit classics, “She Thinks I Still Care,” share some background as to why you wrote this hit song.
Dickey Lee: This was written about a young lady in Memphis while we were both students there. And I must add, we have remained friends for a lifetime. This was by far my biggest song. By 1975, some 500 recordings had been done of it and now it has reached 1,000.
HottyToddy.com: Did not Elvis have first shot at recording this?
Dickey Lee: Actually he did, but through an unfortunate set of circumstances, he never heard the song. This led to George Jones recording it, making it the second biggest hit of his career.
HottyToddy.com: Looking past “She Thinks I Still Care,” what would you say was your next biggest success?
Dickey Lee: Probably “Patches”, however, “I Saw Linda Yesterday” was also an incredible hit for me.
HottyToddy.com: And what about “Laurie”?
Dickey Lee: I have always been a big fan of Stephen King. Although I did not write “Laurie”, I mentioned possibly doing a ghost story to two fellow writers who came up with this classic song. I refer to it as my ‘Halloween Standard.’ We had a lot of fun recording it as both Ray Stevens and Boots Randolph participated in the recording.
HottyToddy.com: Tell our readers what Elvis was like personally.
Dickey Lee: Elvis was always nice to me, very nice. I was the first kid in Memphis (at age 19) to have a hit record following Elvis.
I recall one time when we were on his front porch late one evening when his mother called out for us to be good. When “All Shook Up” was climbing on the charts, I had “Dream Boy” which tracked Elvis’ song landing at number two when “All Shook Up” reached number one.
HottyToddy.com: Returning to “She Thinks I Still Care”, did not Elvis cover it as well?
Dickey Lee: Elvis had two different versions of the song and included them both on an album which is very unusual.
HottyToddy.com: I read recently that Frank Sinatra once stated that the greatest male voice he ever heard belonged to Steve Lawrence. How would you answer this?
Dickey Lee: Three individuals stand out….Dean Martin; Johnny Mathis and Elvis. They all possessed great commercial voices that were very distinctive. (And Johnny is still going strong today.)
HottyToddy.com: You have performed on the same stage before with Pat Alger, but never with Roxie. Is that correct?
Dickey Lee: Pat and I have performed, probably, twenty times together at the Bluebird in Nashville. Roxie is a fantastic performer who has a great deal of humor. It should be a really fun night for all.
HottyToddy.com: Where have you performed recently?
Dickey Lee: I just returned from San Antonio and will be off to Michigan (Oscoda) next week. I also recently performed in Knoxville.
HottyToddy.com: Looking back on the Beatles impact on music. How do you adequately classify it?
Dickey Lee: I was crazy about the Beatles as it didn’t take them long to take over the charts. A footnote of interest is that Paul has one of my guitars. Being a left handed guitar player, I had a custom ordered Fender guitar made in 1957. Some years ago I sold it. Stephen Stills acquired it, giving it to Paul for a birthday gift. The guitar today is valued around $40,000 independent of belonging to Paul.
HottyToddy.com: Tell us about George Jones.
Dickey Lee: George was the ideal hillbilly. We became good friends through “She Thinks I Still Care” as I saw him often in Nashville. He once told me that this was his All-time favorite song.
HottyToddy.com: Closing on a personal note, your daughter, Danna, is an Ole Miss alum.
Dickey Lee: Danna and her family will be coming over from Birmingham for the concert. Danna is a true Rebel and a former Kappa Delta. Her husband, a UT grad, married Danna, an Ole Miss girl, and chose Alabama for their home.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.HERE!