Penning number one hits for Charley Pride, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker and many others, songwriter Dallas Frazer left behind an impressive body of work when he passed away last year at age 82.

Frazier was born on Oct. 27, 1939, to a poor family in Spiro, Oklahoma, that moved to Bakersfield, California, during Frazier’s youth.

“We were part of The Grapes of Wrath,” he told writer Edd Hurt in a 2008 profile for the music website Perfect Sound Forever. “We were the Okies who went out to California with mattresses tied on the tops of their Model A Fords. My folks were poor.” 

He began writing songs when he was a young boy, and as a youth, Frazier developed a friendship with country crooner, Ferlin Husky. Frazier moved out at 12 years of age with his parents’ blessing after Husky offered him a job in the music industry. By the time Frazier was 14, he had worked on the program “Hometown Jamboree” and released his first single, “Space Command,” in 1954. When “Hometown Jamboree” came to an end, Frazier moved to Nashville.

His first hit song as a songwriter was “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles. He wrote the 1964 hit, “Timber I’m Falling,” recorded by Husky. His first Grammy nomination was for Best Country Song in 1966 for writing Jack Greene’s 1966 No. 1 hit, “There Goes My Everything.” The song also won several awards, including “Single of the Year” and “Song of the Year” at the first CMA Awards presentation the following year. In addition, the accompanying album of the same title won “Album of the Year,” and Greene won “Male Vocalist of the Year.” Engelbert Humperdinck gave Frazier his biggest Pop success with his version of “There Goes My Everything.”

Frazier wrote and originally recorded “Elvira,” which went on to become an outstanding success for The Oak Ridge Boys 15 years later in 1981. The inspiration for the song was not a woman but a street in the East Nashville neighborhood of Nashville.

Frazier continued to pen hits after the success of “Elvira,” including Connie Smith’s “Ain’t Had no Lovin’ and George Jones’s duet with Melba Montgomery, “The Day I Lose My Mind.”

Frazier wrote entire albums for Jones in 1968 and Connie Smith in 1972. Frazier wrote songs for artists such as Diana Ross, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, Carola, Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy, Roy Head, Brenda Lee, Waylon Jennings, Gene Watson, Elvis Presley, Charlie Louvin, Rodney Crowell, Poco, Ronnie Hawkins and Dan McCafferty. Frazier’s second Grammy nomination was for the Best Country song for Charley Pride’s No. 1 hit “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me.)”

In 1973 Frazier and Earl Montgomery wrote “What’s Your Mama’s Name” for Country music artist, Tanya Tucker. “What’s Your Mama’s Name” became Tanya Tucker’s first No. 1 hit, spending 14 weeks on the charts.

Frazier recorded his own music as well as writing hits for others. He released two solo albums, “Singing My Songs” and “My Baby Packed Up My Mind and Left Me.” In 1976 Frazier was inducted into Nashville’s Songwriter’s Hall of Fame when he was only 36.

Frazier’s songwriting success continued into the 1980s with him penning songs for stars like George Strait, Patty Loveless, Randy Travis and Emmy Lou Harris. Harris’s rendition of “Beneath Still Waters” was a hit and has become another classic example of Frazier’s brilliance as a songwriter.

For six years Frazier served as a non-denominational Christian minister, pasturing the congregation at Grace Community Fellowship in White House, Tennessee, from 1999-2006.

In 2011 after retiring from the ministry, he released another album, “Writing and Singing Again,” and resumed his music career.

Frazier suffered two strokes between August of 2021 and his death at age 82 due to stroke complications on Jan. 14, 2022.

“Our dad passed into the loving arms of Jesus this morning,” his daughter Melody Frazier Morris said in announcing his death. “Glory to God! No more suffering! In lieu of flowers and food, Dad requested donations be made to Nashville Rescue Mission.

– story by Sasha Dunavant