Billy Hancock, Rockabilly Singer, Dead at 71

Share This:

Billy Hancock (Photo from his Facebook page)

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Billy Hancock, whose career stretched for more than 50 years, died Jan. 22 in LaPlata, Md., after battling liver and kidney failure. He was 71.

Washington, D.C., reporter Mark Segraves posted on Facebook that the singer’s wife, Carrie Hancock, told him that Billy Hancock—who worked primarily in the rockabilly genre—“came home Friday after spending nearly six weeks at Georgetown Univ. Hospital. He wanted to see his cats, guitars and cars…one more time.” Segraves added that a celebration of Hancock’s music will take place in the spring.

Billy Hancock (Photo from his Facebook page)

Born in Fairfax County, Va., in 1946, William C. “Billy” Hancock Jr. was raised in Alexandria, Va., and began his career playing in bands around the Washington. D.C., area. In the arly 1970s he began collaborating with fellow D.C. guitarist Danny Gatton, forming the band Danny and the Fat Boys. In 1975 the group released an album on the Aladdin label titled American Music, which later became a sought-after collectors’ item; it is often considered a progenitor of the present-day Americana movement.

Related: A look back at the artists who left us in 2017

In 1978, Hancock began a recording relationship with the independent Ripsaw Records, for which he recorded sporadically under the group named Billy Hancock and the Tennessee Rockets while also releasing recordings on other labels. In addition to leading his own bands, Hancock often provided backing for prominent rock ’n’ rollers as well as blues and country artists, including Fats Domino, Roy Buchanan, Gene Vincent and Charlie Feathers.

In 2002 Hancock and his brother Dale started their own label, Turkey Mountain Records, which released archival recordings of artists such as Buchanan, Gatton and Link Wray as well as material by Billy Hancock. He released nearly 20 albums under his own and various group names.

In 2005, Hancock received the Washington Area Music Association’s Special Recognition Award.


Listen to the title track from Danny and the Fats Boys’ American Music

Best Classic Bands Staff

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.