22 April 1948 (age 69)
Larry Groce (born April 22, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, musician and radio host. During his early four-year recording career as a family-oriented country music singer-songwriter, he became a one-hit wonder with the Top Ten novelty hit "Junk Food Junkie" in 1976. Since then, Groce's voice has become well known by children and parents alike as a result of his recordings of classic children’s songs for Walt Disney Records “Children’s Favorites” 4-volume series: Volume 1 (1979), Volume 2 (1979), Volume 3 (1986), and Volume 4 (1990).
Since 1986, Groce has hosted the public radio program Mountain Stage.
Groce was born in Dallas, Texas, on April 22, 1948. He attended W.H. Adamson High School with future musicians Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and B. W. Stevenson.
After school, Groce moved around the States — St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles — singing folk music and rhyming tales. Groce recorded four LPs on small labels like Peaceable and Daybreak in the '70s, with his band—Berke McKelvey (bass), and the Currence brothers, Jimmie (banjo, fiddle) and Loren (guitar, fiddle, mandolin); Walt Disney's Vista label Activity Records issued his "Winnie the Pooh For President" as a single. He also recorded the "Disney Children's Favorites" albums on Disneyland Records, featuring many well-loved children's songs, as well as several other Disney recordings during the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the two "Disney Christmas Favorites" LPs.
Early in the 1970s, Groce went to work for the National Endowment for the Arts program which funded appearances by artists in public schools. Groce was sent to West Virginia where working with kids inspired him to write the humorous "Junk Food Junkie", which was recorded in 1975 in front of a live audience at McCabe's in Santa Monica, California. The song, released as a single in early 1976, quickly became a hit in the United States, where it spent 15 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at number nine in the week of March 20, 1976. One line in the song says the singer is "a friend to old Euell Gibbons", a naturalist known for appearing in TV commercials for Grape Nuts cereal; ironically, Gibbons died just before "Junk Food Junkie" was released.
The song was followed up by an album and several more novelty numbers. None of them charted, and Groce returned to his work with children. He has written numerous children's songs, several of which have been included on the Disney Children's Favorites albums, including his song "Just For You". He currently lives in Charleston, West Virginia, and is the host of the National Public Radio music program Mountain Stage.
Groce also recorded two albums of hymns in the 1970s and has recently released a Best Of Larry Groce CD, taken from those albums, and another CD of new hymns called On Joyful Wing (Mar 2009).
He has also been in the movie Paradise Park.
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