Jerry Wallace (December 15, 1928 - May 5, 2008) was a country/pop singer and guitarist with smooth crooner vocals and a flair for romantic ballads who became famous beginning in the late 1950s in pop before switching to country in the mid 1960s with even greater success. His best known songs include the doo-wop-styled "How The Time Flies" (1958), the swingy "Primrose Lane" (1959), the dreamy "In The Misty Moonlight" (1964), and the lovelorn "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry" (1972), which was featured in an episode of "Night Gallery."
Born in Guilford, Missouri, Wallace, the son of a grocery store owner, spent his childhood in Missouri and Arizona before moving to Hollywood, California. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he began his recording career in 1951 with Allied before moving to the Gene Autry-founded Challenge Records in the late 1950s.
Jerry Wallace's first charting song came in 1958 with "How The Time Flies," which became a Top 20 hit on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts. His fame took off the following year with "Primrose Lane" (1959), a Top 10 Pop/Rock hit that also made the R&B Top 20, reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and soon after went gold. He had another Pop/Rock Top 20 hit in 1964 with "In The Misty Moonlight," which later topped the Adult Contemporary chart for Dean Martin in 1967. Wallace's long string of Pop/Rock charts hits through the mid 1960s also included "Diamond Ring" (1958), "A Touch Of Pink" (1959), "Little Coco Palm" (1960), "Swingin' Down The Lane" (1960), "There She Goes" (1960), "Life's A Holiday" (1961), and the Audie Murphy-penned "Shutters And Boards" (1962).
Wallace made his debut on the Country charts in 1965 with "Life's Gone And Slipped Away" and went on to score an impressive 33 more hits through 1980. He had his greatest hit in 1972 with "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry," which topped the charts and also made the Pop/Rock Top 40. Other top Country charts hits included "To Get To You" (1972), "Do You Know What It's Like To Be Lonesome" (1972), "Don't Give Up On Me" (1973), and "My Wife's House" (1974). His top selling song worldwide came in 1970 with "The Lovers Of The World," a single released in Japan only that was used in an advertizing campaign for Mandom Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer and distributor of hair and skin care products.
Jerry Wallace was honored in 1972 with a CMA Awards nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year, and "To Get To You" also received a nomination for Single of the Year. An adapted version of his signature song, "Primrose Lane," performed by actor Mike Minor of "Petticoat Junction" fame, was used as the opening theme to the short-lived early 1970s ABC TV sitcom, "The Smith Family."
- The New York Times remembers Jerry Wallace.
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- In The Misty Moonlight 1964
(This song later also became a hit for Dean Martin (1967).)
- Shutters And Boards 1962
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