Aired on Treasure Island OldiesSep 17, 2023

In September of 2016 we lost one of America’s most prolific songwriters of the 60s & 70s who penned songs for the Everly Brothers, Johnny Tillotson, Chet Atkins, the Nashville Teens, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Johnny Cash, Marianne Faithfull, Stonewall Jackson, Sue Thompson and others.

He also made it on the Billboard Hot 100 on five separate occasions between 1957 and 1962 as an artist. Ironically, his first appearance on the charts was a song he wrote that was released simultaneously with a version by Eddie Cochran …


His first songwriting success of note occurred in his teens with the 1956 release of “A Rose And A Baby Ruth,” by George Hamilton IV. This gold record soared to the #6 position, remaining on the pop charts for 20 straight weeks.

Seven years later in 1963, George Hamilton IV released another of the songwriter’s tunes. This one went to #1 on the country charts and crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at the #15 position. Who can forget “Abilene.”

Other notable hit songs he composed include “Indian Reservation,” a #1 hit for the Raiders, “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” a Top Ten hit for the Casinos (#6), “Ebony Eyes” for the Everly Brothers (#8) and “Norman,” “Paper Tiger,” and “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” for Sue Thompson.

Somewhat of a prankster, he had fun singing and releasing “Callin’ Doctor Casey” and “Road Hog” in 1962 with both charting.

Recording under the name, Johnny Dee, his breakout release on Colonial Records appeared on the Billboard charts in March 1957. And it went up against Eddie Cochran’s breakout version on Liberty Records which came out at the same time.

Cochran’s version went Top 20 (#18) and remained on the charts for 13 weeks. Our singer/songwriter’s version made it to the #38 position and lasted 11 weeks.

However, this Johnny Dee recording has become quite a collector’s item. In fact at the turn of the millennium, our creator of Moments In Time, Tom Locke, discovered Joel Whitburn’s record want list on the Internet. Joel Whitburn by the way is the founder of Record Research who produces all those amazing reference books relating to the Billboard music charts.

On Whitburn’s want list was this Johnny Dee record. A record that Tom had along with the original picture sleeve. Whitburn and Tom subsequently connected and made a trade. For the 45 recording, Tom received the latest edition of Whitburn’s “Top Pop Singles” and a signed picture of Whitburn holding the wanted record in front of his massive library.

Joel Whitburn and the prized Johnny Dee record

And all the while, Johnny Dee, better known in the songwriting circles as John D. Loudermilk, was probably just “Sittin’ In The Balcony,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.

YouTube video of this song:

This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.