01 October 2010

Rock-n-Roll Oldies: Billy Swan- I Can Help

Billy Swan (dob 12 May 1942) is a multi-talented American musician, songwriter and singer, best known for the 1974 #1 single I Can Help. Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Swan learned drums, piano and guitar at a very young age, then immediately took to writing songs. 

The first big break came in 1962 when Clyde McPhatter recorded Lover Please, a song written by Swan. McPhatter's version quickly became a #7 pop hit. Swan moved to Memphis and for a time worked on Elvis Presley's Graceland estate. 

He then moved to Nashville, which enabled him to write hit country songs for numerous artists, including Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, and Mel Tillis. In 1969, Swan first took on the role of record producer, producing Tony Joe White's Top Ten hit Polk Salad Annie. 

Billy Swan also played bass guitar for Kris Kristofferson, and then signed a solo recording deal with Monument Records. His first album included the song I Can Help, a rockabilly number that topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and country charts in 1974, going-on to become a major international hit. 

Swan recorded it in two takes -without overdubs- with an RMI organ that Kristofferson and singer Rita Coolidge had bought for him as a wedding gift. 

Here Billy and the band perform their then #1 hit on The Midnight Special... I've adored this tune since the day it hit the radio, and a great live version here, a little more honky-tonk... they didn't lip-synch on these, a feature unique to that show:

Billy Swan: I Can Help 1974

Previous RR Rock n Roll Oldies features -here-


Bungalow Bill said...

So the Limbaughs aren't its only claim to fame.

Reaganite Republican said...

LOL- and Chuck Berry made an impact, I'd say

Lonely Conservative said...

Thanks, RR. No sitter so this is the next best thing. LOL!

Reaganite Republican said...

Sounds like you could use some of Billy's help lol

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