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Terry Gilkyson

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Hamilton H. Gilkyson III (June 17, 1916–October 15, 1999), better known as Terry Gilkyson, was an American folk singer, composer, and lyricist. He may not be well-remembered today but his influence on pop music and folk music is significant. Terry and the members of his group, The Easy Riders, made contributions as songwriters and performers. Along the way they left us with songs that are very familiar to anyone who listened to music in the 50s: “Marianne” and “Memories Are Made of This”.

Guitarist Tony Gilkyson, formerly of the band X, and Austin singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson are Gilkyson’s son and daughter. His other daughter Nancy has served for more than 20 years as a vice president at Warner Bros. Records

Gilkyson was born Hamilton Henry Gilkyson in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in 1916. Like many people growing up in a small town in the 20’s and 30’s, he and his family spent a lot of time listening to music on the radio. Known as “Terry,” he attended the University of Pennsylvania for a time, majoring in music, before moving to Tucson, Arizona in his early 20’s. Terry worked on a ranch and then joined the military during World War II. He returned to Pennsylvania and worked in his family’s insurance business, all the while composing folk songs that he enjoyed playing and singing.

In 1947 Terry got married and headed to California, intent on launching a career as a folk singer.

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