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.
Born in Guilford, Mo., Wallace first recorded for the tiny Allied imprint, and appeared on the charts when “How the Time Flies” was issued on Gene Autry’s Challenge label, and reached No. 11 on The Billboard Hot 100. Wallace’s “Primrose Lane” became his first top 10 pop hit when it rose to No. 8 on The Hot 100 in 1959, and was used as the theme song for a television series starring Henry Fonda, titled “The Smith Family.” Wallace issued pop singles including “In the Misty Moonlight” on Challenge though 1964. He 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.”
After largely unsuccessful stints on Mercury and Liberty during the late 1960’s, Wallace found his way to country stardom with Decca sides, including “To Get to You” and “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry.” The latter song was featured in an episode of Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery,” titled “The Tune In Dan’s Cafe,” and reached No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in 1972. He also scored with “Do You Know What It’s Like to Be Lonesome” in 1973, and other country hits including “Don’t Give Up On Me” and “My Wife’s House” during the 1970’s.
Wallace is survived by four children and two grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Friday (May 9) in Corona, Ca., with burial to follow in Riverside, Ca.