Smooth voiced pop-turned-country singer/guitarist/actor Jerry Wallace died May 5 at his home in Corona, Ca. of congestive heart failure. He was 79. Wallace is survived by four children and two grandchildren. A memorial service will be held May 9 in Corona, Ca., with burial to follow in Riverside, Ca.
Wallace began his recording career in 1951 with Allied. Seven years later, after switching to Challenge Records, he broke onto the charts with How the Time Flies, which reached number eleven. A year later, he released the biggest hit of his career with Primrose Lane, which went to number eight. Interestingly, while both were very pop oriented, they crossed over onto the R&B charts and peaked at numbers eleven and twelve respectively.
In 1964, at the end of his time with Challenge, he once again challenged the upper parts of the charts with In the Misty Moonlight. While the single stopped at number nineteen on the pop charts, it ascended to number two on the Adult Contemporary. In total, Wallace placed thirteen singles in the top 100 between 1951 and 1972.
The following year, after signing a short term deal with Mercury, Wallace started to venture away from pop and toward a modern country sound. His Life’s Gone and Slipped Away was not a huge hit, but it did give him his first break on country radio. Wallace would continue to have minor hits on both Mercury and Decca until 1972 when he recorded a song for the series Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. If You Leave Me Tonight I Will Cry went to the top of the country charts and was followed just a few months later by the number two single Do You Know What It’s Like to Be Lonesome.
For the balance of the 70’s, Wallace would have ten more country hits on MCA, BMA and 4 Star before his popularity began to wain. He was also awarded the 1972 Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association.
Jerry also composed music for film and television, and appeared in films including “Flipper’s New Adventure” and “Goodbye Charlie.” He also worked on music for other television shows, including “Daniel Boone” and “Hec Ramsey.” Beyond recording, Wallace acted in films like Goodbye Charlie.
Listen for Jerry’s pop hits on TUNEDEX MEMORIES.