Billy Hill

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Alias: George Funky Brown


Born: 14 July 1899, Boston, Massachusetts

Died: 24 December 1940


William Joseph "Billy" Hill was an American songwriter and lyricist. He studied the violin at the New England Conservatory of Music under Carl Muck. and played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Hill left home at seventeen and headed west, where he worked as a cowboy in Montana, a surveyor in Death Valley, and a prospector. He then returned to music, and played violin and piano in dance halls until forming his own jazz band in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He found fame writing cowboy songs, and his hits included "They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree", "The Last Roundup", "Wagon Wheels", and "Empty Saddles". Probably his biggest "hit" was "The Glory of Love" recorded by Benny Goodman in 1936, Peggy Lee in 1959, Dean Martin in 1966, Tom Rush in 1968, Eddy Arnold in 1969, Wizz Jones in 1970, Otis Redding, The Five Keys, and Bette Midler for the film Beaches. Under the name of George "Funky" Brown, he co-wrote the song "Have You Ever Been Lonely?"

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