Troy Seals

Induction Year: 1988

Birth Name: Troy Edward Seals

Birth Date: 11-16-1938

Place of Birth: Bighill, Kentucky

Troy Seals was among the predominant songwriters of Nashville's 1970s and '80s, scoring dozens of hits including "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)," "Seven Spanish Angels," "Don't Take It Away" and "Maybe Your Baby's Got the Blues." His first major contribution, "We Had It All," was never a chart smash but has become a standard; it was first recorded by Waylon Jennings, and it has since been covered by Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty and many more.

Born in Bighill, Kentucky, Seals is a member of a talented extended family that includes country hit-maker Dan Seals, Seals & Croft member Jim Seals and Little Texas member Brady Seals. In the late 1950s, he began performing with a band billed as Troy Seals & the Earthquakes. The group backed early rock & rollers including Conway Twitty, who later became a friend and mentor.

Seals released pop singles with wife Jo Ann Campbell as Joe Ann & Troy in the 1960s, and he worked construction in Indianapolis to pay the bills. In 1969, he and Campbell moved to Nashville, where Seals took work as a session guitarist and as a more musical construction worker: he built Quadraphonic Studios for David Briggs and Norbert Putnam. Quadraphonic would be the studio where Dobie Gray, Dan Fogelberg, Neil Young and many more recorded. Written with Donnie Fritz, "We Had It All" became a key part of Waylon Jennings' much-lauded Honky Tonk Heroes album. Then, in 1974, Conway Twitty scored a #1 hit with Seals' "There's a Honky Tonk Angel Who'll Take Me Back In," a song that would later be a posthumous hit for Elvis Presley.

Seals went on a run that included several Twitty smashes and a Top 20 pop hit for Eric Clapton in 1983 with "I've Got a Rock and Roll Heart." In 1985, Seals' "Seven Spanish Angels" became a chart-topper for the duo of Ray Charles and Willie Nelson, and a year later Seals' "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)" was ASCAP's Country Song of the Year, and Seals was named ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year. Seals notched a total of nine #1 hits in the 1980s, and he scored other significant hits for artists including Charley Pride, Ronnie McDowell, George Jones, Lee Greenwood and Reba McEntire. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988.

"A Few Ole Country Boys"

(written with Mentor Williams)

Randy Travis & George Jones1990 #8 country

"Bayou Boys"

(written with Eddy Raven, Frank Myers)

Eddy Raven1989 #1 country

"Beyond Those Years"

The Oak Ridge Boys1989 #7 country

"Country Girls"

(written with Ed Setser)

John Schneider1985 #1 country

"Didn't We"

(written with Graham Lyle)

Lee Greenwood1986 #10 country

"Don't Take It Away"

(written with Max D. Barnes)

Conway Twitty1979 #1 country

"Drinkin' and Dreamin'"

(written with Max D. Barnes)

Waylon Jennings1985 #2 country

"Fallin' for You for Years"

(written with Mike Reid)

Earl Thomas Conley1987 #2 country


(written with Dan Goodman, Will Jennings)

Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn1975 #1 country

"Forget About Me"

(written with Frank Miller, Ed Setser)

Bellamy Brothers1984 #5 country

"I Dream of Women Like You"

Ronnie McDowell1984 #7 country

"I Won't Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)"

(written with Max D. Barnes)

Randy Travis1987 #1 country

"I've Got a Rock and Roll Heart"

(written with Steve Diamond, Ed Setser)

Eric Clapton1983 #6 adult contemporary, #18 pop

"Joe Knows How to Live"

(written with Max D. Barnes, Graham Lyle)

Eddy Raven1988 #1 country

"Let the Music Lift You Up"

(written with Ed Setser)

Reba McEntire1987 #4 country

"Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)"

(written with Fred Parris, Mike Reid)

ASCAP Country Song of the Year

Ronnie Milsap1985 #1 country

"Maybe Your Baby's Got the Blues"

(written with Graham Lyle)

The Judds1987 #1 country

"Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night"

(written with Max D. Barnes)

Conway Twitty1982 #1 country

"Seven Spanish Angels"

(written with Ed Setser)

Ray Charles & Willie Nelson1985 #1 country

"Ten Feet Away"

(written with Max D. Barnes, Billy Sherrill)

Keith Whitley1986 #9 country

"There's a Honky Tonk Angel Who'll Take Me Back In"

(written with Denzil Rice)

Conway Twitty1974 #1 country
Elvis Presley1979 #6 country

"We Had It All"

(written with Donnie Fritts)

Waylon Jennings1973 #28 country
Donnie Fritts1974 
Rolling Stones1978 
Ray Charles1978 
Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson1983 
Dolly Parton1986 #31 country
Keith Richards & Willie Nelson2004 

"When We Make Love"

(written with Mentor Williams)

Alabama1984 #1 country

"Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes"

(written with Max D. Barnes)

George Jones1985 #3 country

"You Almost Slipped My Mind"

(written with Tilden Back, Delbert Barker, Donald Clint Goodman)

Charley Pride1980 #4 country

Troy Seals

Induction Year: 1988