(Richard Dean Feller) was born on January 2, 1943 in Bronaugh,
Missouri, a small town with a population of 214. He was raised and got
his influences among numerous styles of music, from blues exponents
such as John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed through to Hank
Williams, Jimmie Rodgers through the instrumental works of Chet Atkins
and the legendary Merle Travis. This solid musical background formed
the young musician. On his twelfth birthday Dick Feller got his first
guitar from his Grandfather. It was a guitar bought at a junksale. It
had only one string, but young Feller started immediately to tune it!
Some time later he started taking guitar lessons by hitching rides with
the local mailman to a neighboring town, and at fifteen year old he was
playing for dances with a local band. Graduating from high school, Feller
played lead guitar in various rock & roll groups and blues bands,
becoming a proficient rock 'n' roll guitarist. Around 1964 Feller went
to L.A. to play in a band and hone his songwriting skills, but with
no particular luck. So he went home to Missouri to continue playing with
1966 Dick Feller moved to Nashville, then he a couple of years later joined Mel
Tillis’ touring band, The Statesiders, and toured with them for a while.
He also toured with Skeeter Davis and Stu Phillips, as a band member.
For some years Dick Feller was the touring band leader for Warner Mack,
and he also played sessions on several of Mack's albums.
early years in Nashville, Feller played demos of his own songs by days,
but didn’t tell other band members that he was a song writer. Before
1970 Feller wrote songs with only meager success. The first tune he
ever had released, was a song entitled Boston,
which Jimmy Payne put on a record in 1968.
Feller has told reporters that he had learned to write by listening
to Johnny Cash’s early songs. So when Cash opened his own publishing
company, House Of Cash, Feller went there and left some songs. One day
Cash called him with the special words that Feller never could forget:
"I like your songs. They’re not just a bunch of words." So
Cash signed Feller as a staff writer. The year was 1970. Cash recorded some of his songs,
and he also got Feller a record contract with Columbia, but they didn’t do anything with
1972 Cash got a No. 1 country hit with Feller's Any
Old Wind That Blows. Another Feller
song had become a hit the year before; in 1971 Tex Williams had recorded
Feller's song The Night Miss Nancy
Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down,
a talking story-type song that became a Top 30 single in the States.
Jimmy Dean's producer then asked Feller to write a song for Dean with
a similar feel to it. Feller decided to write a song about automobiles
in a kinda Jerry Reed style (Reed had had an influence on Feller). The
result was Lord, Mr. Ford.
Dean decided to not record it, and Feller was left with a song but no
singer. Then suddenly he had a dream. He dreamed that he took his song
to Reed's publishing company. So he did. After having heard Dick Feller
sing the song once, Reed said he wanted to record it. He also decided
to record two other of Feller's songs, The
Lady Is A Woman and the beautiful One Sweet Reason.
Lord, Mr. Ford became a No. 1 Hit for Jerry Reed in 1973 and became
at the same time Dick Feller's biggest song-writing break. This was
the beginning of a long-lasting
association between Feller and Reed. Feller signed Reed's own publishing
company, Vector Music, as a staff writer in 1975, and Reed and Feller
became co-writers for some years. Some of their songs can be heard in
such as Smokey and the Bandit
(1977). Feller and Reed co-wrote the well-known East Bound And Down,
and Feller wrote The Bandit.
A number of other Feller compositions are to be found on several of Reed's
own albums. At that time Feller was also touring as opening act for the
Jerry Reed show.
1973 Dick Feller had made his own recording debut, and the single Biff,
The Friendly Purple Bear
made it to the Top 25 and crossed over to become a minor pop hit as
well. This song is very likely Feller's most remembered performance.
The same year he released his first album, Dick
Feller Wrote..., which was released
through United Artists. Some months later he released a single that
deserves to be mentioned, The Credit
Card Song, which is typical for
Feller's humorous style and reached the Top Ten. Feller signed with
Asylum Records in 1974. His first release for the label was the single
Makin' the Best of a Bad Situation,
which made it to the Top 15 and again crept into the pop charts.
Feller continued writing songs, and besides that he played guitar
sessions on the records of other contemporary artists, such as Jerry
Jeff Walker, Guy Clark and Mike Auldridge. At the same
time he also made some more of his own recordings. In 1975 he had his last
chart entry as a performer, with the funny Uncle
Hiram And His Homemade Beer, which
made it to the Top 50. In 1981 John Denver recorded Feller's lovely Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days
Are Stone), and scored a major
country-pop hit. A couple of years before that, Bobby Bare had made
a hit with the same song. Regular tours, especially to UK country
clubs, made Feller known and popular in Europe too. His first overseas
tour was made in 1980. And in 1981, supported by The Kelvin Henderson
Band, he toured in England, Scotland and Holland.
last record, a live album, came in 1982. Together with Donz Schlitz he
composed songs for the movie Smokey
And The Bandit 3 (1983), and also
a tune for Alamo Bay
(1985). For several years Dick Feller was writing
and touring with the late Lewis Grizzard, as opening attraction for
the Evening With Lewis Grizzard
stage show. Feller also co-produced Grizzard's
which was released the year Grizzard died, in 1994. Actually Grizzard
died before the album was finished, and therefore Feller together with
Timmy Tappan finished it. Feller played both the guitar and bass, and
added his vocals to six of the tracks as well. Eleven of the twelve
tracks on this album were co-written by Feller and Grizzard.
last few years Feller has been writing many songs with Sheb Wooley.
Three of their co-written songs were performed by Wooley on the truck
drivin' collection Kickin' Asphalt,
which was released in November 1999. Del Reeves performed another Feller-Wooley
composition on the same CD. Even more songs have been written by Feller
and Wooley, who in the fall of 2000 went into studio to record a demo
of a few tunes.
the years Dick Feller has also written and performed a number of commercials
for different companies and products, such as the Dodge TV commercial Do
You Like Trucks?, and the Pepsi
jingle By Any Other Name.
His Dodge Truck National TV commercial Little
Boy's Dream even won a price as
the best commercial of the year. Feller has also made commercials for
AT&T Calling Card, Beech-Nut Tobacco, Colgate-Palmolive, among
of Dick Feller's songs have won
Old Wind That Blows
The Credit Card Song
East Bound And Down
Lord, Mr. Ford
Some Days Are Diamonds
written by Dick Feller himself in the liner notes on his album "Wrote...":
a songwriter is an observer - a reporter - voyeur of emotions (...)
i take people i have met and invent new situations for them - then sit
back and see how they react. thats called writing a song.
Dick Feller has not received the attention he so richly deserves.
On UK tour with Kelvin Henderson Band
Feller to the left.