29 February 1952
Midland, Martin County, Texas, United States
25 July 2016 (aged 64)
Billy Joe Walker Jr. (Midland, Texas, February 29, 1952 – July 25, 2017) was an American songwriter, record producer and recording artist.
Born and raised in West Texas, Walker taught himself to play guitar and read music at an early age. He left home at 14, honing his chops in lounge bands and country joints in Oklahoma City before moving to Los Angeles. There he worked as a session player for artists such as Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard and The Beach Boys, as well as for Beatles producer George Martin. He also performed on TV and movie soundtracks featuring Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds.
At the urging of legendary producer Jimmy Bowen, Walker moved to Nashville and began playing on the albums of country artists including Ray Charles, Hank Williams Jr., Randy Travis and the Dixie Chicks. After contributing his skills to literally hundreds of sessions, Walker recorded his own albums, which naturally led to producing.
He composed singles for Eddie Rabbitt, including the singles "I Wanna Dance with You" and "B-B-B-Burnin' Up with Love". Walker produced the first three albums of Bryan White, and produced for Pam Tillis, Collin Raye, and Travis Tritt. He was also a session musician who played guitar. Between 1987 and 1994, Walker recorded seven new-age albums, all for major labels.
Walker died, following a period of declining health, on July 25, 2017 at the age of 64.
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