The 1959 smash hit "Gotta Travel On" was one of many country songs that year that found a home on the pop "top 40" charts as well as country radio. The man who performed that song, Billy Grammer, passed away Wednesday (8/10) in a hospital in his hometown of Benton, Illinois.
Although the song is easily Grammer's best-known work, he was not a one-hit wonder. He had a top 20 hit in 1963 with a song called "I Wanna Go Home." That same year Bobby Bare recorded the tune with a different title: "Detroit City."
In addition to his own recordings, Grammer was known as a superlative guitarist. He worked on recordings by Marty Robbins, George Hamilton IV, Ernest Tubb, and Charley Pride -- and on recordings with the legendary Louis Armstrong. In the early 1960s he opened his own guitar company, Grammer Guitars. Although the company didn't last long the guitars made a lasting impression on many country guitarists, including Vince Gill.
Despite his world-wide acclaim Grammer chose to live in his hometown. Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Ruth.
Billy (ne Billie) Grammer was 85.