60s Oldies Music

Who Is John D. Loudermilk?

John D. Loudermilk may have scored very few hits of his own, but it was his songwriting where he became more successful.

John D. LoudermilkMusic career overview
John D. Loudermilk is a country and pop singer­-songwriter who has scored a handful of hits: “Sittin’ In The Balcony” (as Johnny Dee), “The Language Of Love,, “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Callin’ Doctor Casey,” and “Road Hog.” However, the North Carolina­born Loudermilk is better known as a songwriter, penning hits for many artists such as TheEverly Brothers (“Ebony Eyes),” Sue Thompson (“Norman”), Stonewall Jackson (“Waterloo”), Johnny Cash (his version of “Bad News”), The Nashville Teens (“Google Eyes”), and George Hamilton IV (“Abilene” and “A Rose and a Baby Ruth”). An inductee of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, Loudermilk has long retired from his lengthy, active career of singing/songwriting.

 

Full biography on John D. Loudermilk
Country and pop singer-­songwriter John D. Loudermilk was born on March 31, 1934 in Durham, North Carolina. Belonging to the family of Salvation Army faithful, his first awareness of music was influenced by church singing.

Early on, Loudermilk also had a way with words, and he would write poems and set them to music, playing them on his guitar. Loudermilk was aiming to be a pop and rockabilly style­singer and performer, but it was his songwriting that gave him success.

 

Singing career
He was given an opportunity by a local television station to play one of the songs he wrote, “A Rose And A Baby Ruth”. Country star George Hamilton IV took the song and made it his own hit in 1956 (#6 on the Billboard Hot 100).

Loudermilk’s success as a songwriter
Loudermilk was far more successful as a songwriter. He wrote songs that were turned into hits by a variety of other artists performing a variety of genres, from teen idol pop to country. These notably include:

  • “Angela Jones” by Johnny Ferguson (#27 pop)
  • “Ebony Eyes” by The Everly Brothers (#8 pop)
  • “Stayin’ In” by Bobby Vee (#33, pop)
  • “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” (#5 pop, #1 adult contemporary),”Norman” (#3 pop),“James (Hold The Ladder Steady)” (#17 pop) and “Paper Tiger” (#23 pop) by Sue Thompson
  • “(He’s My) Dreamboat” by Connie Francis (#14 pop)
  • “Torture” by Kris Jensen (#20 pop)
  • “Abilene” by George Hamilton IV (#15 pop, #4 adult contemporary, #1 country)
  • “Talk Back Trembling Lips” by Johnny Tillotson (#7 pop, #6 adult contemporary)
  • Tobacco Road” by The Nashville Teens (#14 pop)
  • Thou Shalt Not Steal” by Dick and Dee Dee (#13 pop)
  • This Little Bird” by Marianne Faithfull (#32 pop, #7 adult contemporary)
  • Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” by The Casinos (#6 pop)
  • What A Woman In Love Won’t Do” by Sandy Posey (#31 pop)
  • I Wanna Live” (#36 pop, #18 adult contemporary, #1 country) and “Don’t Pull Your Love” (#27 pop, #1 adult contemporary, #4 country) by Glen Campbell
  • “Indian Reservation” by Don Fardon (#20 pop)
  • “Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere & The Raiders (#1 pop, #11 adult contemporary)
  • “Indian Outlaw” by Tim McGraw (#15 pop, #8 country)

Loudermilk’s own material is described best as being bizarre. He would write some of the nonsensically humorous songs to the extremely somber stories. “Indian Reservation,” one of Loudermilk’s most popular songs he’s written, is worth noting that Loudermilk derived the songs’ inspiration from his own “experience” of being kidnapped by Cherokee Indians after his car was stranded in a blizzard. His story actually turned out to be the product of his own wild imagination.

Loudermilk continued to write and record, but he concentrated more on penning tunes. In the 1980s or 1990s he retired from his active work in the music industry that saw him as one of the most prolific musical figures, mostly in the Nashville circuit.

Loudermilk was inducted into The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976 and into the Music Hall of Fame in his birth state North Carolina.