Leroy Van Dyke (b. October 4, 1929) is a veteran country singer, songwriter, guitarist, radio and TV personality, and actor with a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Born and raised in rural Pettis County, Missouri, he graduated from the University of Missouri with a double major in Animal Husbandry and Journalism and a minor in Speech. During the early-mid 1950s, he launched his long music career with what would later become his first hit, "Auctioneer," a song he wrote while stationed in Korea during the Korean War which he first performed for the troops. This country novelty standard, which features authentic auction chants performed with the vocal dexterity of a professional auctioneer, was inspired by Van Dyke's own experiences in that profession and those of his second cousin, National Auctioneers Association Hall of Famer, Ray Sims. After completing his military service, Van Dyke entered this song in a Chicago talent contest, which led to a contract with Dot Records. In addition, he was a regular on Red Foley's "Ozark Jubilee" on ABC during the late 1950s, and he was a founding co-host of the long-running and widely syndicated "Country Crossroads" radio show. He starred and performed in the movie, "What Am I Bid?" (1967), in which he portrayed an auctioneer-turned-country singer.
Van Dyke debuted nationally in late 1956 with "Auctioneer," which reached the Country charts Top 10, became a Pop/Rock Top 20 hit and a multi-million seller, and made him a country music star while he continued to work as a journalist. This smash was followed some four years later by his greatest hit, the Kendall Hayes/Gary Walker-penned "Walk On By" (1961), an upbeat country ballad about a two-timing cheater which topped the Country charts, made the Pop/Rock Top 5, and became his second gold record. This country standard spent an astounding 19 weeks at #1 on the Country charts, a record that was finally broken 51 years later by Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" in 2013. Van Dyke had another major crossover success with "If A Woman Answers (Hang Up The Phone)" (1962), which became a Top 5 hit on the Country charts and made the Pop/Rock Top 40. His long string of hits on the Country charts also included "Black Cloud" (1962), "Anne Of A Thousand Days" (1965), "Roses From A Stranger" (1966), and "Louisville" (1968), which all made the Top 40, plus his final charting song, "Texas Tea" (1977).
A prolific recording artist with over 500 songs to date, Leroy Van Dyke has also continued to tour and perform actively to the present day, with a full itinerary at a wide variety of venues that includes some 40-70 fairs and livestock events per year. A longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry, his many honors and accolades include the Founding President's Award from the Country Music Association (1967). He is also a member of the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.
- For more info about Leroy Van Dyke and his touring schedule, visit leroyvandyke.com.
- Van Dyke discusses the continued popularity of "Auctioneer" and "Walk On By" and his latest projects in an interview with Digital Journal (ca. 2016).
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Leroy Van Dyke
- If A Woman Answers (Hang Up The Phone) 1962
- Walk On By 1961
(This country-pop song, which was written by Kendall Hayes and Gary Walker, is completely different from the same titled song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.)
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