September 29, 1930 – February 22, 2012
Billy Strange was a much-respected guitarist, songwriter, and arranger who made an indelible mark on pop music as one of the top session players in Los Angeles during the 1960s. And as a songwriter, he was no slouch either. Born in Long Beach, California, Strange was just 5 years old when he performed on a local radio station – reportedly winning a yodel contest. Roughly ten years later, he was given his first guitar, and within two years, he was on the road. During the mid ’60s, Strange found himself as part of a collective of L.A. studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, who would go down in history as the players on some of the most important pop, rock, and country records of the era. Most famously, Strange played on landmark recordings by the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds), Nat King Cole, Nancy Sinatra, Willie Nelson, and Elvis Presley (whose “A Little Less Conversation” was co-written by Strange. Others who recorded Strange-penned songs include Chubby Checker, the Champs, Hank Snow, and Glen Campbell. In the early ’70s, Strange moved to Nashville where he co-owned and ran the Sinatra’s publishing company. Billy Strange was 81 when he passed away on February 22, 2012.
Thanks to Brett Ortone for the assist.