Wayne Walker

Induction Year: 1975

Birth Name: Wayne Paul Walker

Birth Date: 12-13-1925

Place of Birth: Quapaw, Oklahoma

Death Date: 01-02-1979

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

Wayne Walker hoped to make a career for himself as a country music performer. Instead, the Oklahoma native made indelible contributions to music as the writer of many hit songs of the 1950s and '60s, penning country hits for Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Mel Tillis and others. "Are You Sincere" was a hit outside the country realm: Andy Williams reached #3 on the Billboard pop chart with the ballad in 1958, and the song was later covered by artists including Elvis Presley and Bobby Bare. Walker received a BMI Million Play award for "Are You Sincere."

Walker worked selling cars and vacuum cleaners and labored as a roofer while seeking to find his place in music. While appearing on the Louisiana Hayride, he befriended performers Webb Pierce and Tillman Franks, who encouraged him to write and record. He experimented with rockabilly in the years immediately following the rapid ascent of rock & roll and Elvis Presley, and though he didn't find success as a performer, he placed early songs with Johnny Burnette and others. Walker's first big hit was "I've Got a New Heartache," a shuffling #2 country hit for Ray Price in 1956. It would be revived by Ricky Skaggs in 1986, in another Top 10 hit.

The Price hit began a remarkable run for Walker, a prolific writer who prided himself on writing a new song every few days. He penned Top 10 country singles in the 1950s for Price, Pierce, Carl Smith and Kitty Wells, all of whom also scored with Walker songs in the 1960s. "Cut Across Shorty," recorded first by Eddie Cochran in the 1960s, was later revived as a country hit in versions by Smith and Nat Stuckey, and as a rocker for the Faces and Rod Stewart. "All the Time," a Walker composition first recorded by Kitty Wells in 1959, became Walker's only #1 hit when Jack Greene took it to the top of the charts in 1967, in a version that was named Billboard's Country Song of the Year.

Walker compositions such as "All the Time," "Why Why" (Carl Smith), "Fallen Angel" (Webb Pierce), "A Little Heartache" (Eddy Arnold), "Leaving on Your Mind" (Patsy Cline) and "Burning Memories" (Ray Price) are now regarded as evergreen classics that helped define one of country music's most compelling eras.

"A Little Heartache"

Eddy Arnold1962 #3 country

"All the Time"

(written with Mel Tillis)

Kitty Wells1959 #18 country
Jack Greene1967 #1 country
Jean Shepard1968 
Johnny Paycheck1968 
Anne Murray2009 

"Are You Sincere"

Andy Williams1958 #3 pop
The Platters1960 
Marty Robbins1961 
Webb Pierce1963 
Jean Shepard1973 
Elvis Presley1979 #10 country
Mel Tillis1979 
Bobby Bare2005 

"Burning Memories"

(written with Mel Tillis)

Ray Price1964 #2 country
Waylon Jennings1964 
Kitty Wells1965 
Jerry Lee Lewis1969 
Mel Tillis1977 #9 country

"Cut Across Shorty"

(written with Marijohn Wilkin)

Eddie Cochran1960 
Carl Smith1960 #28 country
Freddie & the Dreamers1964 
Nat Stuckey1969 #15 country
Rod Stewart1970 
Rod Stewart (live)1994 

"Fallen Angel"

(written with Marijohn Wilkin)

Webb Pierce1960 #4 country

"Hello Out There"

(written with Kent Westberry)

Carl Belew1962 #8 country
LaWanda Lindsey1974 #28 country

"Holiday for Love"

(written with Webb Pierce, A. R. Peddy)

Webb Pierce1957 #3 country

"How Do You Talk to a Baby"

(written with Webb Pierce)

Webb Piece1961 #7 country

"I Thank My Lucky Stars"

Eddy Arnold1964 #8 country

"I've Got a New Heartache"

(written with Irene Stanton)

Ray Price1956 #2 country
Sarah Vaughan1956 
Ricky Skaggs1986 #10 country

"Leavin' on Your Mind"

(written with Webb Pierce)

Patsy Cline1963 #8 country, #83 pop
Webb Pierce1965 
Bobbie Roy1972 #58 country
Loretta Lynn1977 
LeAnn Rimes1999 
k. d. lang2003 
Lorrie Morgan2009 

"Little Boy Sad"

Johnny Burnette1961 #17 pop
Bill Phillips1969 #10 country

"Memory Number One"

(written with Max Powell)

Webb Pierce1964 #2 country


(written with Irene Stanton)

Ray Price1962 #5 country
Jeannie Seely1972 #47 country
Janie Fricke1981 #12 country

"Sweet Lips"

(written with Webb Pierce, Glenn Tubb)

Webb Pierce1961 #3 country

"Sweet Misery"

(written with Jan Crutchfield)

Jimmy Dean1967 #16 country, #13 adult contemporary
Ferlin Husky1971 #14 country

"Thoughts of a Fool"

(written with Mel Tillis)

Ernest Tubb1961 #16 country
George Strait1992 

"Unloved Unwanted"

(written with Irene Stanton)

Kitty Wells1962 #5 country
Ray Price1965 

"What Did I Promise Her Last Night"

(written with Ronal McCown)

Mel Tillis1977 #4 country

"Why Why"

(written with A. R. Peddy)

Carl Smith1957 #2 country

Wayne Walker

Induction Year: 1975