Country Western Music
While Billy Parker was a mainstay on country radio, his claim to fame was as an influential disc jockey, not as a performer. Ironically, for all of the Top 40 hits he spun over the course of his decades on the air, not one of them was his own. Born July 19, 1939, in Tuskegee, OK, he began playing guitar as a child and by the age of 14 had made his professional debut on the Tulsa radio program Big Red Jamboree. A few years later, he began performing in clubs and in 1959 landed his first job as a DJ.
By 1963, Billy was the regular daytime disc jockey on Wichita, Kansas’ KFDI and also hosted a Tulsa television program. In the same year, he cut his first single, “The Line Between Love and Hate,” and was named “Mr. DJ U.S.A.” in a nationwide poll, which helped land him at Nashville’s WSM. After releasing another record, “I’m Drinking All the Time,” in 1966, Parker began playing with Ernest Tubbs Troubadours in 1968 and stayed with the group for three years, until he joined Tulsa’s KVOO.
Billy was named Disc Jockey of the Year by the Academy of Country & Western Music in 1975; he won the award again in 1977, 1978, and 1984.
In 1976, he scored his first chart hit with “It’s Bad When You’re Caught (With the Goods),” from the album Average Man. He scored his biggest success in 1982 with the title track from the LP (Who’s Gonna Sing) The Last Country Song.
He was inducted into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
Interview with Billy Parker
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: April 16, 2012
Date Published: December 28, 2020
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: WPA, Grand ole opry, Hank Snow, Roy Clark, Hank Thompson, Quik Trip, Oral Roberts, Brenda Lee, President Truman, WSM, Decca Records, Johnny Cash, Pay ola, KVOO, Texas Troubadours, Garth Brooks, Johnny Lee Wills, Ernest Tubb