The Story of Dickey Lee


Dickey Lee (birth name Royden Dickey Lipscomb) is a Tennessee-born pop and country singer/songwriter.  He began performing in bands while still in his teens, and cut his first recordings for Tampa Records and Sun Records in the late 1950s.  As a songwriter, Lee’s first charting single was “She Thinks I Still Care” in 1962 for another country singer George Jones.  Lee had a hit on his own, the teenage tragedy song “Patches”, later that same year.  Also in that year Lee scored another hit with “I Saw Linda Yesterday”, and in 1965 with “Laurie (Strange Things Happen); both songs settled at #14 on the US pop charts in those years.  Since the 1960s Lee has been performing country music exclusively, and continuing his songwriting efforts; his single “Rocky” became a #1 country hit in 1975.  His best-known compositions, just to name a few, are “Someone Like You” (which he co-wrote with Bob McDill and performed by Emmylou Harris) and “The Keeper of the Stars” which gave a hit for country crooner Tracy Byrd.  Lee was honored with a place in the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1995.

Early Years

Professionally known as Dickey Lee, Royden Dickey Lipscomb was born on September 21, 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee.

During his adolescence he became a member of a band while in high school. By winning several talent shows, the group earned an airplay on a local radio station which led to a recording contract. With the help of DJ Dewey Phillips, Dickey Lee was signed on Sun Records in 1957 where he recorded two singles; “Good Lovin'” and “Fool, Fool, Fool.” Both singles failed to sell.

Dickey Lee’s Successful Years

Dickey Lee continued playing in Texas where he had just moved in. Lee finally started to gain attention in 1962 when George Jones recorded the former had written “She Thinks I Still Care. It became a big hit, topping the country charts for six weeks.  Anne Murray’s would do her own version of the song entitled “He Still Thinks I Can” which gave her a #1 hit.

In August 1962, Dickey Lee recorded “Patches” (written by Barry Man and Larry Kobler) for Smash Records. It reached its peak position at #6 on the US pop charts. Despite themes evoking of teen suicide, it became his best-selling record. It sold over a million copies and gained a gold disc status.  “Patches” was followed by another chart-topping hit in 1963, “I Saw Linda Yesterday” which rose at #14. In 1965, he released another teen tragedy tune “Laurie (Strange Things Happen).” It became another pop hit reaching #16 on the US chart.

During the late 60’s, Dickey Lee focused more on production and songwriting. In 1970, he was coaxed on returning to Nashville. There, he recorded the lesser hit “The Mahogany Pulpit” and released it on RCA in 1971. His follow-up single in late 1971, “Never Ending Song of Love” made to the country Top Ten at #8. Dickey Lee continued to release singles over the course of the 1970’s and he was still able to make hits such as “Rocky,” “Angels, Roses and Rain,” and “9,999,999 Tears.”

After seven years with RCA, Dickey Lee moved to Mercury in 1980 where he had two hits entering the Top 30 singles chart, “Workin’ My Way to Your Heart” and “Lost in Love.” In the same year, the latter became a big hit for Air Supply, which was a duet with Kathy Burdick. After Lee’s contract ended, he continued to write songs for a number several artists.

In 1995, Dickey Lee was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005, he co-wrote and sang on some parts for Michael Saxell’s song, “Two Men.”