Dickey Lee

Induction Year: 1995

Birth Name: Royden Dickey Lipscomb

Birth Date: 09-21-1936

Place of Birth: Memphis, Tennessee

Dickey Lee remembers the first time he heard one of his songs on the radio. "I was at a drive-in movie, with a buddy of mine. We went to see some thriller or something. I had the radio on and my song came on. Boy, it was like magic!"

The regional success of that song, "Dream Boy," written in 1955 when Lee was fresh out of high school in Memphis, whetted his appetite for a career in music. Despite his father telling him that he "ought to take his guitar and throw it in the Mississippi River and get a job," Lee soon signed a deal with Sun Records. A few more regional hits followed, then in 1962 Lee scored a #6 pop hit with the star-crossed suicide tune "Patches" (produced by Jack Clement) on Smash Records.

But while his nascent pop career thrived with "I Saw Linda Yesterday" and another teen tragedy hit, "Laurie," Lee slowly realized that his true love was country music. When a song he co-wrote, "She Thinks I Still Care," became a #1 country hit for George Jones and was covered by artists like Eddy Arnold and Faron Young, Lee took that as a sign that Nashville was his destiny. It took him a few years to settle there, but when he did, he rode a dual career as a hit country writer and successful country recording artist, beginning with RCA Records in 1971.

Over the next three decades, he racked up 20 BMI Awards, as his songs were recorded by hundreds of artists, including Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, Brenda Lee, Don Williams, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Charley Pride, Randy Travis, James Taylor and Reba McEntire. At the same time, he placed nearly 30 songs on the charts himself, including "Never Ending Song of Love," "Rocky," "Angels, Roses and Rain," and "9,999,999 Tears."

In 2010, a TNT network police drama, Memphis Beat, used Lee's song of the same title as its theme song, in a newly recorded version by Keb' Mo'.

Lee remains active as a writer, a leader of music seminars and a performer, touring with rock & roll revival shows, alongside such artists as Fabian, Bobby Vee and the Shirelles.

Of his feelings about being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Lee is characteristically modest: "I don't deserve it, but I'll take it."
 

"Big Brother"

(written with Jack Clement, Allen Reynolds)

Dickey Lee1965 
Tex Ritter1965 
Tompall Glaser1967 
Johnny Paycheck1967 
Murv Shiner1967 #73 country
 

"Blues Don't Care Who's Got 'Em"

(written with Wayland Holyfield)

Mickey Gilley1980 
Eddy Arnold1983 #76 country
 

"Everybody's Reaching Out for Someone"

(written with Allen Reynolds)

Dickey Lee1971 
Brenda Lee1971 
Pat Daisy1972 #20 country
Kitty Wells1972 
Lynn Anderson1972 
The Cox Family1993 
 

"Gone Too Long"

(written with Heather Myles)

Heather Myles1995 
 

"He Broke Your Memory Last Night"

(written with Bucky Jones)

Reba McEntire1984 #15 country
 

"He Thinks I Still Care"

(written with Steve Duffy)

Connie Francis1962 #57 pop
Goldie Hill1964 
Norma Jean1965 
Cher1965 
Anne Murray1974 #1 country
Jean Shepard1974 
Kirsty MacColl1981 
Melba Montgomery1983 
Deana Carter with George Jones2007 
Patty Loveless2008 
 

"I Saw Linda Yesterday"

(written with Allen Reynolds)

Dickey Lee1963 #14 pop
 

"I'll Be Leaving Alone"

(written with Wayland Holyfield)

Dickey Lee1976 
Charley Pride1977 #1 country
 

"I've Been Around Enough to Know"

(written with Bob McDill)

Jo-El Sonnier1975 
Conway Twitty1978 
John Schneider1984 #1 country
 

"If Love Gets There Before I Do"

(written with Kerry Chater)

Don Williams1983 

"In a Different Light"

(written with Bob McDill, Bucky Jones)

Doug Stone1991 #1 country

"Keeper of the Stars"

(written with Danny Mayo, Karen Staley)

ACM Song of the Year

Tracy Byrd1995 #2 country

"Let's Fall to Pieces Together"

(written with Johnny Russell, Tommy Rocco)

George Strait1984 #1 country
Johnny Russell2000 
 

"Memphis Beat"

(written with Allen Reynolds, Milt Addington)

Jerry Lee Lewis1966 
Keb' Mo'2009  TV theme song: Memphis Beat

"She Thinks I Still Care"

(written with Steve Duffy)

George Jones1962 #1 country
Eddy Arnold1963 
Ferlin Husky1963 
Wilburn Brothers1963 
Del Shannon1963 
Faron Young1964 
Jimmy Dean1966 
Jerry Lee Lewis1966 
Roy Drusky1967 
Del Reeves & Bobby Goldsboro1967 
Sonny James1968 
Marty Robbins1968 
Merle Haggard1969 
Hank Locklin1969 
Mike Nesmith1972 
Statler Brothers1972 
Glen Campbell1972 
Dickey Lee1972 
John Fogerty1973 
Leon Russell1973 
Conway Twitty1976 
Elvis Presley1977 
Johnny Paycheck1980 
Dan Seals1984 
James Taylor1993 
Vince Gill2006 
Teddy Thompson2007 
 

"Someone Like You"

(written with Bob McDill)

Don Williams1975 
Stoney Edwards1979 
Emmylou Harris1984 #26 country
 

"Standing Knee Deep in a River"

(written with Bob McDill, Bucky Jones)

Kathy Mattea1993 #19 country
Joe Cocker1994 
Don Williams1995 
 

"The Door Is Always Open"

(written with Bob McDill)

Waylon Jennings1975 
Dickey Lee1975 
Ernest Tubb1975 
Lois Johnson1975  #70 country
Dave & Sugar1976 #1 country
Jamey Johnson2008 
 

"Wrong's What I Do Best"

(written with Freddy Weller, Mike Campbell)

George Jones1992 #65 country

"You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving"

(written with Kerry Chater)

Reba McEntire1983 #1 country

Dickey Lee

Induction Year: 1995