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Dallas Frazier – RIP

Dallas Frazier, Songwriter of ‘Elvira,’ ‘Alley Oop’ and Many Country Hits, Dies.

Excerpt from the Variety obituary:

Dallas Frazier, a songwriter who broke out with the pop novelty hit “Alley Oop” and went on pen country classics like the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira,” died Friday at 82.

“Dallas Frazier is among the greatest country songwriters of all time,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “He could convey infectious fun with ‘Elvira,’ and then write something as stunningly sad and true as ‘Beneath Still Waters’” — a No. 1 hit for Emmylou Harris. “He was a man of kindness, generosity and faith, who overcame a hardscrabble upbringing to offer smiling gifts to all of us.”

Among those cutting Frazier’s songs were Charley Pride (who had four No. 1 hits with Frazier-co-written numbers), Connie Smith (who recorded an entire album of his songs in 1972), George Jones (who did the same), Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Charlie Rich, Rodney Crowell, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Moe Bandy, Brenda Lee, Poco, Gene Watson, Charlie Louvin, George Strait, Patty Loveless, Roy Clark, Tanya Tucker and Randy Travis.

In 1957, Frazier was 19 when he wrote “Alley Oop” in his head while working for his father in a California cotton mill. “Cotton was one of the biggest farm industries in the San Joaquin Valley at one time, back in the ’50s and ’60s. … I’m in this big, huge cotton trailer that’s full of cotton. … I get to thinking about the cartoon character (Alley Oop).I start just kind of riffing with an ‘Oop-oop’… I wrote that song that day before I got through with my shift at the cotton gin.”

One of the songs he cut in his own abbreviated recording career was, indeed, “Alley Oop,” but it didn’t become a hit until producer Gary S. Paxton (also of “Monster Mash” and Tammy Faye Bakker fame) recorded it in 1960 with a makeshift group assembled for the session called the Hollywood Argyles. It was later covered by Darlene Love, the Beach Boys and Ray Stevens as well.

Community Comments

#1 Jonathan Lemon
@ 1:53 pm


#2 Bob Mrotek
@ 4:52 pm

My notes on Alley Oop including info on the Mexican version of the comic book.

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