Eddie Kilroy

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Kilroy’s Bio

All About Kilroy

I came out of a small Texas town made up of ranches and oil fields, and not much else.  I got my first horse at the age of three.  Surrounded by cowboys, by the time I was ten I was sure that I would make my future in the “Cowboy World.”  My Dad made sure I always had good horses and I did well in youth rodeos and then into high school competition.  Somewhere in that time period, I learned to play guitar enough to fool around with writing songs and playing at local honky tonks, and people seemed to think the songs were really good.  I had by then moved on to professional rodeo.  Wow, I thought this is IT!

And it was, until I was in Arkansas and looked at the Atlas to find that Nashville was only about one and a half inches from where I was, so what the heck, I just got in my pick-up with two horses loaded in a bumper pull trailer and headed for Nashville to see what they would think of my songs.  First stop was to see Chet Atkins.  Little did I know you needed an appointment and they didn’t care I had two horses in their parking lot and it was July.  I couldn’t just wait around… and I didn’t.  But, on the way out on 16th avenue I saw a two story house with a sign that said “Faron Young Enterprises”.  Faron was a super star at the time and I had been listening to him on the “Opry” as far back as I could remember. But having the cowboy mind-set I was not intimated so I just pulled my jeans up and went on in, ask to see Mr.  Young and low and behold he invited me in to play him my songs.  After four or five he looked over his desk and said, “Boy those ain’t worth a %@#&! But you move up here and pursue writing and every time you write a song bring it to me.”  Oh well, it was good to see Tennessee but look out Texas, I’m coming home.

About six months, somewhere in the early 60’s, we were into the winter season and few rodeos to go to.  I started weighing how much money I could make rodeoing and the potential money in the music business.  I decided to take Faron’s advice and I made the move to Nashville.  I got there with forty dollars and a bunch of prayers.  I won’t bore you further with the hard time period aspiring people go through when the hit that town, but I was determined to make it.

I eventually got to producing records.  My first time in the studio as a producer I cut a hit record on Jerry Lee Lewis. The song was “Another Place, Another Time.”

After that God’s graces were abundant.  I founded Playboy Records for Hugh Hefner and signed Mickey Gilley as our first artist which led to fourteen number one singles and six number one albums on Gilley.  After Playboy sold to CBS I moved to MCA Records as co-president with Jimmy Bowen.  This enabled me to thank Faron for his encouragement by signing him to MCA for a handsome bonus.

I felt confined as a producer being the head of labels so I left to start my own independent production company.  This opened the door to produce artists regardless of what company they were signed to.  What a blessing having the opportunity to produce many of my hero’s.  As well as Jerry Lee and Mickey, I produced records on Marty Robbins, Faron Young, along with such as Wynn Stewart, Louise Mandrell, Red Steagall, Gary Stewart, Jeannie C.  Riley, Billy Joe Shaver, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Leona Williams, and so many more.  All of this led to receiving two “Academy Of Country Music” awards for “Producer of the Year,” a “Producer of the Year” award from ASCAP and two top labels of the year awards for “Label Of the Year.”  Needless to say I enjoyed more success than I probably deserved.

Then the music changed! It wasn’t “Country” as I knew it. Time to leave, time to go back to where I came from, time to COWBOY again.  Hey, Bandera, Texas looked good! But I had to call an old friend to say goodbye, and say why I was checking it to Nashville.  He said there was a new radio deal starting up, XM Satellite Radio, and they needed someone that really knew real country music.  I was dubious until they brought me to DC to see what would revolutionize radio as we knew it.  When I walked into XM, I was overwhelmed to say the least.  I agreed to build a channel for them called “Hank’s Place.”  I did, and it was six months of fun putting XM 13 together.  Then what a great time changing the name to “Willie’s Place.”  Willie, being a good friend of near forty years, made it special.

I always considered myself a very blessed person, but I didn’t know my greatest blessing were yet to come.  Her name is Elizabeth and she is special.  We met for the first time at one of “Willie’s” picnics. (That’s why I always say you meet the nicest people at Willie’s.) I called on all the Texas charm I could muster and we were later married.  Elizabeth was born in Georgia but raised in Florida.  Not only does she have the prettiest blues eyes I have ever seen, but she was introduced to horses at a young age and knows horses backwards and forward.  Encouraged by her parents, she spent years competing in rodeos and horse shows and has garnered a healthy collection of awards and recognition in the equine world.  Damn, you’d think she was from Texas.  We share a passion for horses and our Cross K Ranch.

She also became an intricate part of “Willie”s Place,” being the only female voice on the channel.  I loved it when she was on with me in the mornings and we got to be husband and wife on the air totally unrehearsed.  Boy, she stayed busy with things going on at “Willie’s,” working with the horses, Cash, Trigger a TB horse “Ray” (after Price) and a yearling we call Cody.  I know there will be more songs and recordings, more horses, and more rodeos, but there will never be another Elizabeth and I treasure her.

Thanks for being our friends,

Kilroy