- Bill Myrick
Bill Myrick was born in 1920 in
Simpson County, Mississippito James Myrick and his wife Allie Parker, tenant farmerswho moved their family that would later total 10 children to West Carroll Parish, Louisianawhere they soon bought their own farm shortly before the Great Depression. He is the brother of now deceased LouisianaSenator Spencer Myrickwho was later the Insurance Commissioner of Louisiana. Bill Myrick and brother Spencer Myrickalso worked for LouisianaGovernor Earl Long. Bill Myrick joined the Army directly out of high school at the start of World War IIserving under General Douglas MacArthuras a Combat Medicin the Pacificwith tours of duty in Japanand the Philippines.
Louisianaafter the war, Bill Myrick's first professional singing job came quite by an accident or fate as he sat waiting to begin a temporary job putting up a tent at a circus and when spotted sitting picking his guitar and singing was immediately hired to fill a vacancy that had just occurred in the band of legendary Father of Bluegrass Music Bill Monroeand the Bluegrass Boys. After a few years of performing at the Grand Ole Opryand on the road in concert with Monroe, Bill Myrick would later put together what would be the first professional bluegrass group in the State of Texascalled Bill Myrick and the Mayfield Brothers with the ranching Mayfield Brothers, Edd, Herb, and Smokey, from the Texas Panhandlearea of Dimmitt, Texas. Bill Myrick and the Mayfield Brothers first performance on the Louisiana Hayridebrought an invitation to be regulars on the show but Edd Mayfield's invitation to perform with Bill Monroeand the Bluegrass Boys led to a premature end to the already incredibly popular and iconic bluegrassgroup who were very much ahead of their time in their George Straitstylized rancher look in starched and pressed blue jeans, crisp white shirts, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots, a look common place in country music today but a totally innovative look in the 1950s.
Bill Myrick moved his wife LaVerne and toddler daughter
Bellinda Myrickto the West Texastown of Odessaon the advice on Bill's good friend Hank Williamswhere Myrick became legendary throughout West Texasand country and bluegrass music in general as he was at the helm of the explosion of country, bluegrass, and rockabilly music that came out of West Texas. Bill Myrick had earlier been hired by his friend Hank Williamsto go to work in his band as a singer and guitar player as well as driving Williams' personal Cadillac. Bill had asked for a week or two to spend with his wife and daughter having been on the road extensively with Bill Monroeand Hank Williamsagreed but before Myrick could join Williams on the road Hank would died in the backseat of his Cadillacon the way to his next performance.
Bill Myrick was instrumental in the early successes of
Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, and Elvis Presleywhose recording career gained its first national momentum out of the radio show of Bill Myrick who was a reknowned West Texasdisc jockey at the time as well as a producer of country music shows live and on television including the Pioneer Jamboreeand was responsible for the only time that Buddy Hollyand Elvis Presleywould ever share the same stage though many historians have never known nor reported that fact.
Most recently, SONY/RCA researcher
Ernst Jorgensenhas carried out the most thorough research ever about the missing year of the early major success of Elvis Presleyto find that it lay with Bill Myrick at the radio station in Odessa, Texaswhere he began to play the songs of fellow Mississippian and Bill Monroefan Elvis Presley. Shortly after Elvis began making live appearances there in Odessaand sister city Midlandas well as throughout West Texasand the Texas Panhandlesometimes with Bill Myrick and the Rainbow Riders as his opening act. One visit to Odessa found Bill Myrick and Elvis Presleyat the Ector Theater watching Elvis' new movie Jailhouse Rockwhich many Elvis biographers have reported that Elvis never saw because of his grief over the death of co-star Judy Tylerand her husband in a car wreck immediately after the movie had wrapped.
Bill Myrick was a very popular country music singer, musician, song writer, concert producer, and disc jockey on a variety of West Texas radio stations including KECK, KOSA, and KOYL where he worked with his good friend
Waylon Jenningswho had also been a member of Buddy Hollyand the Crickets and had known Bill back during the time of the Elvis show in Lubbockwhere Bill, who was an opening act, put Buddy on the show playing with Bill's bands instruments for a crowd that had arrived hours early and stomping the floor for Elvis that then went wild over Buddy.
At a time when country music didn't pay all that well, Bill Myrick eventually found it necessary to have other paying jobs periodically and worked for awhile as a policeman and a truck driver while he and his wife had two more children, sons Martin and Billy. Life on the road traveling with
Bob Willsand the Texas Playboys, The Miller Brothers, Rex Allen, and Jimmy Deanamong others would take its toll and Bill Myrick eventually decided to quit a full time music career and began three decades working with Big Three Industries, a major distributor of liquid oxygen to NASAand hospitals around the country, that would eventually be bought out by Air Liquide of France, and with whom he began driving trucks and ended his career as Transport and Safety Director. After over 30 years with the company, Bill Myrick returned to his first love of bluegrass music creating the National Public Radioshow Silvergrass and Purple Sagewhich has a following in Japanand among American military serving in Iraq as well as being the Master of Ceremonies around the country at bluegrass festivals. He currently resides, at the age of 82 in 2008, with his wife LaVerne in Odessa, Texaswhere he is also a member of the choir at First Baptist Church and is the father of 3 children, Bellinda Myrick, former Miss Texasand Miss West Texas, singer/actress/and author, Martin C. Myrick, a PhD and author, and Billy Myrick, a police chief, and 7 grandchildren.
coauthors = Joe Carr, Alan Munde
Texas Tech University Press
date = 1995
pages = pp. 198-203
month = June
isbn = 978-0-89672-349-8
coauthors = Michael L. Kurtz, Morgan D. Peoples
Texas Tech University Press
date = 1992
isbn = 080711765X, 9780807117651
coauthors = Peter Guralnick, Ernst Jorgensen
Ballantine Books, Baltimore, Maryland
date = 1999
isbn = 0345420896, 978-0345420893
Texas Governor Rick Perry - Texas College Radio StationsBluegrass legend, Bill Myrick, is live on the Internet each Sunday night at 6 p.m. ... 1995-2008, State of Texas, Office of the Governor, Texas Music Office ...www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/music/directory/radio/radio-college.htm
Journal of Texas Music History Current Issue: Volume 6, Issue 1 (2006) Journal of Texas Music History, [Vol. 6, No. 1] ( 2006). Editors: Gary Hartman, Texas State University: Gregg ... ecommons.txstate.edu/jtmh/
Elvis Presley researcher looks at 1955 N.M. tour datesOfficial Site for Roswell Daily Record Online. Chaves County, NM News.www.roswell-record.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=7441&SectionID=44&SubSectionID=112&S=1
Elvis Day by Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen
The Miller Brothers
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