Billy Adams Rockabilly Hall of Famer “Rock, Pretty Mama” Dies at Age 79

Billy Adams, a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and best known for his song “Rock, Pretty Mama” died on March 30, 2019, in Tenessee. He was 79 years old.

Adams was the son of a coal miner and one of 14 siblings. His father worked at the Van Lear coal mine, which is the place sang about in “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn.

Adams said in an interview with Public Radio International that his family was poor and could not afford to buy instruments. He used a lard bucket, strumming it like a guitar and regularly listened to Bill Monroe when he was on the radio program from the Grand Ole Opry.

Adams recorded in the ’50s included “True Love Will Come Your Way,” “You Heard Me Knocking,” and You Gotta Have A Duck Tail.”

Adams also said in the interview that he wrote “Rock, Pretty Mama,” after he listened to trains close to his home. The song was released in 1957, and several rockabilly compilations included it.

In 2000 he recorded a record he hoped would help with his comeback entitled “Legacy.”

In 2002, a collection of 27 of his best songs was also released. Based on that record, he performed at many festivals including South by Southwest.

Adams’ funeral is scheduled for April 1. He will be buried in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Written by Barbara Sobel


USA Today: Rockabilly Hall of Famer Billy Adams dies at 79
The Washington Post: Rockabilly Hall of Famer Billy Adams dies at 79

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of David Zelaby’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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