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Died On This Date (September 11, 2012) Homer Joy / Wrote “Streets Of Bakersfield”

Posted by themusicsover on September 13, 2012

Homer Joy
April 12, 1945 – September 11, 2012

Homer Joy at left with Buck Owens. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Marko

Homer Joy at left with Buck Owens. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Marko

Homer Joy was a country singer and songwriter who is best remembered for penning “Streets of Bakersfield” for Buck Owens.  The song, which he wrote in a motel in the Bakersfield-adjacent town of Oildale, California in 1973, ultimately became Owens’ final #1 country hit in 1988.  Although Owens played the song live as far back as 1972 and put it on two of his own albums, it wasn’t until  Dwight Yoakam invited him to duet with him in ’88 that it became the iconic ode to the Central California city that it is.  The tune, in fact, is listed as one of the greatest 100 country songs of the 20th century and consistently appears on best country duets lists.   It was back  in 1972 that Joy first went to work for Owens’ publishing company, Black Book Music, and in just two years, recordings of his songs by others sold more than 3 million copies.   Joy soon made a bit of a name for himself as a performer as well.  Signed to Capitol Records in 1974, Joy had a fairly big country hit with “John Law.”  He was also a popular concert draw at honky-tonks and rodeos for many years.  After the success of “Streets Of Bakersfield,” Joy built his own studio where he produced countless records by other artists.  According to his website, recordings of songs he wrote have sold more than 20 million copies.  Homer Joy was 67 when he passed away on September 11, 2012.


Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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