Billy Mize Dies

Billy Mize, 88, one of the pioneers of the influential Bakersfield Sound, died at a Pleasanton, Calif., nursing home Nov. 1.  

Billy Mize

Many consider Mize someone who should have been as big as his contemporaries Buck Owens and Merle Haggard but it didn’t happen that way. Yet, he was a singer/songwriter and television host who earned three Academy of Country Music TV personality of the year awards 1965-1967. 

The performer got his start in television working with “Cousin” Herb Henson and went on to shows including “Chuck Wagon Gang,” “Trading Post” and Gene Autry’s “Melody Ranch,” to name a few, according to the Bakersfield Californian. Mize recorded 11 albums, charted 11 singles and wrote numerous songs recorded by artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Walker, Haggard, Ernest Tubb and Dean Martin. 

He suffered a stroke in 1990 that prevented him from singing, but he could still play guitar as he recovered. His life and career are documented in the film “Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound” produced by Mize’s grandson, Joe Saunders

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