Danny Dill

Induction Year: 1975

Birth Name: Horace Eldred Dill

Birth Date: 09-19-1924

Place of Birth: Dollar Hill, Tennessee

Death Date: 10-23-2008

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

Danny Dill always thought of himself as a performer first and a songwriter second. He began singing in public while he was in high school in Carroll County, Tennessee.

In 1943, Dill hitchhiked to Jackson, Tennessee, where he landed a radio job at WTJS. He was initially typecast as a stock country clown character in a red wig with blacked-out teeth. Other early broadcasting stints were spent in Memphis and Knoxville.

Returning to Jackson, he met and married Annie Lou Stockard in 1945, and they formed a singing team. The couple came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. They were billed as "Annie Lou and Danny, The Sweethearts of the Grand Ole Opry," and patterned their act after the hugely popular Lulu Belle & Scotty of Chicago's National Barn Dance.

The Dills recorded for Nashville's independent Bullet Records label and toured with Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, the Duke of Paducah, Ernest Tubb, George Morgan and other Opry stars. The duet act ended in the early 1950s, and the two later divorced. Annie Lou died in 1982.

While at the Opry, Danny Dill began making inroads into Nashville's then-infant music industry. In 1952, he became the first songwriter signed to the new Cedarwood Publishing firm, co-owned by Opry executive Jim Denny with singers Webb Pierce and Carl Smith. The latter soon dropped out of the company. Dill wrote successful songs for both Pierce and Smith during Cedarwood's early days. He also discovered songwriting great Wayne Walker and signed him to the publishing company.

In years to come, Dill co-wrote two country standards, 1959's "The Long Black Veil" (with Marijohn Wilkin) and 1963's "Detroit City" (with Mel Tillis). Despite his penning several other hits, these remain the jewels in his songwriting legacy.

He resumed recording in the 1960s, creating the concept albums Folk Songs of the Wild West (1960) and Folk Songs from the Country (1963). Danny Dill also became known as one of the music industry's most entertaining and humorous show emcees and commercial pitchmen. In 1976, he reunited with former song collaborator Marijohn Wilkin and began working for her Buckhorn Music publishing firm. Steve Wariner cast him in a leading role in his 1992 video for "The Tips of My Fingers." Danny Dill issued Quality Is Always in Style as his final album in 2006.

"'Cause I Love You"

(written with Webb Pierce)

Webb Pierce1956 #3 country
George Jones1961 

"Ballad of Honest Abe"

The Bailes Brothers1953 

"Detroit City - aka I Wanna Go Home"

(written with Mel Tillis)

Billy Grammer1963 #18 country
Bobby Bare1963 #4 adult contemporary, #6 country, #16 pop
Jan & Dean1963 
Webb Pierce1964 
Arthur Alexander1965 
Flatt & Scruggs1965 
Jerry Lee Lewis1965 
Charley Pride1966 
Tom Jones1967 #27 pop
Jim Ed Brown1968 
Solomon Burke1968 #47 R&B
Mel Tillis1969 
Johnny Cash1970 
Dean Martin1970 
Anita Kerr1970 
Dolly Parton1980 
Jerry Reed1980 
Bill Anderson1994 
Pam Tillis2002 
George Jones2005 

"How Much I Must Have Loved You"

Faron Young1963 

"I've Changed"

Carl Smith1955 

"If You Saw Her Through My Eyes"

(written with Carl Smith)

Carl Smith1954 

"Let Me Talk to You"

(written with Don Davis)

Ray Price1957 
Willie Nelson1964 
Wanda Jackson1967 
Waylon Jennings1968 
Mel Tillis1968 


Jim Reeves1959 #5 country
Eddy Arnold1959 

"Satan's Child"

(written with Helen Carter)

Anita Carter1962 

"So Wrong"

(written with Carl Perkins, Mel Tillis)

Patsy Cline1962 #14 country
Pam Tillis2002 
Jessi Alexander2003 
Mandy Barnett2011 

"The Best Mistake"

George Morgan1956 

"The Comeback"

Faron Young1962 #4 country

"The Happy Part of Town"

(written with Carolyn Sue Penick)

Wynn Stewart1965 

"The Long Black Veil"

(written with Marijohn Wilkin)

Lefty Frizzell1959 #6 country
The Country Gentlemen1960 
Burl Ives1961 
Joan Baez1963 
The Kingston Trio1963 
Hazel & Alice1965 
Johnny Cash1965 
The Band1968 
Bill Monroe1970 
Tommy Cash1970 
Hank Williams Jr.1971 
New Riders of the Purple Sage1972 
Del Reeves1973 
Sammi Smith1974 #26 country
Bob Luman1974 
Chris LeDoux1975 
Johnny Lee1977 
Stonewall Jackson1979 
John Anderson1982 
Don Williams1995 
Barry White1995 
The Chieftains1995 
Dave Matthews Band1999 
Daryle Singletary2000 
Jason & the Scorchers2002 
David Frizzell & Gene Watson2008 
Rosanne Cash2009 

"The Old Courthouse"

(written with Wayne Walker)

Walter Brennan1963 
Faron Young1964 #48 country

"Two Won't Care"

(written with Webb Pierce)

Hank Snow1957 

"Works of the Lord"

Carl Smith1955 

Danny Dill

Induction Year: 1975