The Story and Music of Bob Beckham


Introduction to Bob Beckham

Bob Beckham (1927-2013) is the late American country singer whose best-known hits are “Just as Much as Ever” and “Crazy Arms,” both of which became Top 40 hits on the Hot 100 on the late 50s and the early 60s music eras. The former US Army man also became a music excutive and publisher, having been the co-owner of Combine Records. A bit more on Bob Beckham here in this article.

Bob Beckham’s music career

Country singer and music executive Bob Beckham was born Robert Joseph Beckham in Stratford, Oklahoma on July 8, 1927. He started his show business career as a child and teen actor who dabbled in movies. When the Second World War broke out, 17-year-old Beckham was drafted to the Army where he became a paratrooper.

After his Army duties, Beckham resumed his show business career and toured as a opening act for star Brenda Lee. Finally he was able to score two Billboard Hot 100 hit singles with “Just as Much as Ever” and “Crazy Arms,” peaking at #32 in 1959 and at #36 in 1960, respectively. They were released on Decca imprint. His last charting pop single was “Mais Oui,” which bubbled under Hot 100 at #105 in 1959. He went on the release singles that made a little impression on the charts, with his single “Cherokee Strip” in 1967 becoming his only country chart hit at #73.

Along with Buzz Carson, Beckham also wrote “Danger” for crooner Vic Dana; the song landed at #96 on the pop chart in 1963.

Becoming a music executive

While he was still pretty much active performing and recording, Beckham also decided to go behind the scenes. During the early 1960s he became an employee for the Lowery Music Group and then Shelby Singleton Publishing. In 1964 he moved to Combine Records, which was then owned by songwriter-producer Fred Foster. Two years later Beckham became the president and co-owner of the said label. He helped the careers of several country stars such as Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Tony Joe White, Larry Gatlin, Billy Swan, Ray Stevens and so many others. Beckham also inspired other future songwriters and music executives such as Woody Bomar and Black Chancey.

When Japanese talent agency HoriPro opened its American arm in Nashville, Tennessee, Beckham became one of its founders. He was employed there until he retired in 2006.

Final years and death

Beckham died at a hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee on November 11, 2013, which also happened to be Veteran’s Day. He was 86 years old.

Beckham may be remembered for his legacy especially to devoted fans of oldies music.

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