1969 Roy Clark – Yesterday When I Was Young
Roy Clark grew up in Washington, DC, and later moved to New York City. His father was a semi-professional musician who taught Roy to play guitar at a young age. Roy won the National Banjo Competition in 1947 and 1948, and that earned him an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 17. He then began touring in the backup bands for various Country acts.
Roy began recording singles in 1954, releasing them as solo records or as Roy Clark and His Wranglers or Roy Clark and the Versitals. None of the singles charted.
In 1960, Roy had moved to Las Vegas and begun playing guitar in a Country band. His lightning delivery was impressive enough that by 1962 he was headlining his own show.
Roy covered Bill Anderson’s song Tips Of My Fingers in 1963. Roy’s solo single reached the top ten on the Country chart. He continued recording singles, but for the next five years only four of the records charted on the national Country chart, and they each peaked between #31 and #57.
Roy began an acting career in 1968 when he was cast as both Cousin Roy and Mother Myrtle on The Beverly Hillbillies. He also appeared in a few TV movies and as himself in The Drew Carey Show.
Charles Aznavour wrote and recorded the song Hier Encore with French lyrics in 1964. Herbert Kretzmer wrote the lyrics for the English-language musical adaptation of Les Misérables. He also translated the lyrics of many of Aznavour’s songs from French to English. He re-interpreted Hier Encore as Yesterday When I Was Young. Roy’s single took him to the top ten on the Country chart again and also reached #19 on the Hot 100. It was to be the only one of his recordings to reach the pop chart.
His longest career move came about when Roy was selected as one of the co-hosts for the television show Hee Haw, which lasted for nearly 300 episodes. The show began its run on CBS from 1969 to 1972. A move to syndication kept the show on the air with new episodes through 1997. Lawrence Welk also had to move his show to syndication, and Roy scored a top ten Country record with a song entitled The Lawrence Welk – Hee Haw Counter-Revolution Polka.
The show put Roy in front of a vast audience. Even better, the show usually filmed an entire season in just two weeks so it didn’t interfere with touring or recording. While the show didn’t help Roy reach the Hot 100 again, he had steady chart records on the Country chart through the end of the eighties.
In 1975, Roy appeared on The Odd Couple and showed off his incomparable guitar playing.
Roy retired to Oklahoma and died shortly thereafter in 2018.
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