Born 31 May 1921, Dora, Alabama
Although Terry Fell's name appears only once in the Billboard country charts, he staked his claim to fame by being not only the writer of "Truck Driving Man" but also the original recorder of the song. In 1930, he swapped his pet groundhog for a guitar, although it was to be three years before anyone showed him how to play it, or the mandolin that he also acquired. At 16, he hitch-hiked his way to California, spending some time with the Civilian Conservation Corps. He eventually returned home but he and his widowed mother finally relocated to the Los Angeles area. In 1943, while working for Tru-Flex tyres, he began to play bass with Merle Lindsey's Nightriders. Around 1945, he joined Billy Hughes, made his first recordings for Fargo and began to write songs for the American Music Company. In 1954, after further recordings for Memo, Courtney and 4-Star, he joined RCA-Victor Records, making his first recordings on their subsidiary "X" label. "Truck Driving Man" appeared as the B-side of his first "X" single, in April 1954. The A-side, "Don't Drop It", became a # 4 country chart hit (his only one) and although "Truck Driving Man" failed to chart for Fell, it went on to become a country standard. It has since been charted by both George Hamilton IV and Red Steagall (as late as 1976!) and recorded by countless other artists, including Buck Owens, who was managed by Fell early in his career. "Don't Drop It" also spawned its share of covers, both for the country and the pop markets, including versions by Wilbert Harrison (Savoy) and Jerry Lee Lewis (Sun). Fell made further recordings and worked as an artist for a few years, until the lack of further hits and throat problems saw him lose interest in performing. In 1962, he relocated to Nashville, where he wrote songs and worked for several publishing companies, until he eventually retired. In 1993, Bear Family Records issued a CD containing all 24 of his RCA masters, two previously unissued. Fell also co-wrote "You're The Reason", a US country and pop Top 12 hit for Bobby Edwards in 1961, also recorded by Hank Locklin and Joe South (and many others since then).
CD: Truck Driving Man (Bear Family BCD 15762). 24 tracks.
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