Carl Belew

Induction Year: 1976

Birth Name: Carl Robert Belew

Birth Date: 04-21-1931

Place of Birth: Salina, Oklahoma

Death Date: 10-31-1990

Place of Death: Salina, Oklahoma

Carl Belew grew up as an Oklahoma and Texas farm boy, playing the guitar from an early age. He initially worked as a plumber and in construction. He moved to the west coast in the 1950s to pursue a music career. He was discovered at an amateur contest in Pasadena, California, and singer Marvin Rainwater brought him to Four Star Records in 1955. Four Star label mate Patsy Cline became the first artist to record Carl Belew's songs. (W. S. Stevenson, who is listed as the co-writer on many of Belew's Four Star songs, is the pen name of Bill McCall, who owned Four Star Records and its music publishing company.)

Among Belew's early Four Star recordings are the rockabilly cult classics "Folding Money" and "Cool Gator Shoes." He appeared on the Los Angeles television programs Town Hall Party and the Cliffie Stone Show in 1956. The following year, Carl Belew joined the cast of the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana on radio station KWKH. At various times during his career, he also appeared on the television shows Jubilee U.S.A., Swingaround and the Bobby Lord Show.

In 1958, he began recording for Decca Records in Nashville. That was also the year he had his first big success as a songwriter, "Stop the World (And Let Me Off)," as recorded by Johnnie & Jack. He moved to Nashville in 1959.

Carl Belew subsequently recorded for RCA Victor Records (1962-1968) and for MCA Records (1970s). He had a number of hit country singles as a vocalist and also formed a singing duet in the 1970s with Betty Jean Robinson. But it is as a songwriter that he is best remembered. His heartache standards include "Am I That Easy to Forget," "Lonely Street" and "What's He Doing in My World."

In middle age, he was plagued with ill health. He eventually returned to his hometown and succumbed to cancer there at age 59.

"Am I That Easy to Forget"

(written with Shelby Singleton, W. S. Stevenson)

Carl Belew1959 #9 country
Ernest Tubb1960 
Skeeter Davis1960 #11 country
The Browns1960 
Debbie Reynolds1960 #25 pop
Marty Robbins1966 
George Jones1967 
Engelbert Humperdinck1968 #1 adult contemporary,#18 pop
Jim Reeves1973 #12 country
Leon Russell1973 

"Don't Squeeze My Sharmon"

(written with Van Givens)

Charlie Walker1967 #8 country
Ernest Tubb1968 

"Even the Bad Times Are Good"

(written with Clyde Pitts)

Carl Belew1965 
Connie Smith1969 
Jerry Wallace1970 #74 country
George Jones & Tammy Wynette1976 

"Every Time I'm Kissing You"

Faron Young1958 #10 country
Johnny Horton1958 

"Girl Crazy"

Carl Belew1967 #65 country

"I Can't Forget"

(written with W. S. Stevenson)

Patsy Cline1957 

"I Wish You Love"

(written with Tommy Blake, W. S. Stevenson)

Billy Walker1960 #19 country

"In the Middle of a Memory"

(written with Clyde Pitts)

Carl Belew1964 #23 country

"Lonely Street"

(written with Kenny Sowder, W. S. Stevenson)

Andy Williams1959 #5 pop
Patsy Cline1962 
Ray Price1962 
Tammy Wynette1968 
Hank Williams Jr.1971 
Tony Booth1974 #84 country
Rex Allen Jr.1978 #8 country
Emmylou Harris1989 
Willie Nelson2000 

"Stamp Out Loneliness"

(written with Van Givens)

Stonewall Jackson1967 #5 country
Nancy Sinatra1967 

"Stop the World (And Let Me Off)"

(written with W. S. Stevenson)

Patsy Cline1957 
Johnnie & Jack1958 #7 country
Rose Maddox1963 
Waylon Jennings1965 #16 country
Susan Raye1974 #18 country
Merle Haggard1981 
Dwight Yoakam2003 

"That's When I See the Blues (In Your Pretty Blue Eyes)"

(written with Tommy Blake, W. S. Stevenson)

Jim Reeves1968 #9 country
Dean Martin1968 

"Welcome Back to My World"

(written with Van Givens)

Carl Belew1974 #56 country

"What's He Doing in My World"

(written with Eddie Bush, Billy Joe Moore)

Eddy Arnold1965 #1 country, #18 adult contemporary, #60 pop
Wayne Newton1965 

"Working Like the Devil (For the Lord)"

(written with Van Givens)

Del Reeves1971 #33 country

Carl Belew

Induction Year: 1976