Birth name: William Robert Mize
Born: April 29, 1929 in Arkansas City, Kansas, United States
Genres: country music
Occupation(s): steel guitarist, band leader, vocalist, songwriter, and TV show host
Labels: Decca, Columbia, Imperial, United Artists, Zodiac, G&M
Billy Mize (Born William Robert Mize on April 29, 1929 in Arkansas City, Kansas) is a steel guitarist, band leader, vocalist, songwriter, and TV show host. Mize was raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, an area steeped in country music thanks to relocated Okies. He originally learned to play guitar as a child, but fell in love with the steel guitar he received for his 18th birthday.
Mize moved to Bakersfield, California and formed his own band playing local gigs and also working as a disc jockey on KPMC. In 1953, he, Bill Woods and Herb Henson put together a local TV show called The Cousin Herb Trading Post Show on KERO-TV Bakersfield (then channel 10), where he became affectionately known as Billy The Kid. The signal from that show was so strong the show could be seen as far as Fresno, all the way over to the central coast and Los Angeles. The show was wildly popular because it not only featured fledgling acts such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Tommy Collins, Jean Shepard, Bonnie Owens, Ferlin Husky, but many national acts such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. He stayed with the show for thirteen years.
In 1955, Billy Mize began to appear on a loca Los Angeles television show hosted by Hank Penny. By 1957 he was working on seven different weekly shows in the LA area, including the Hank Penny Show, Cal Worthington Show, Country Music Time and the legendary Town Hall Party. He recorded for Decca (Solid Sender/It Could happen - 1957), Challenge and Liberty, finally hitting the country charts in 1966 with You Can't Stop Me for Columbia. That year he began hosting and performing on Gene Autry's Melody Ranch network show on KTLA as well as starting his own syndicated Billy Mize Show from Bakersfield. During the next decade he managed eleven chart hits as well as writing hits for others such as Who Will Buy The Wine (Charlie Walker), My Baby Walks All Over Me (Johnny Sea) and Don't Let The Blues Make You Bad (Dean Martin). Dean Martin cut three of his songs in one day in June 1966, including "Terrible Tangled Web."