He was a country singer-songwriter and actor born Hoyt
Wayne Axton in Duncan, Oklahoma.
His father was a naval officer and his mother, Mae Boren Axton,
co-wrote "Heartbreak Hotel" which was a hit for Elvis Presley
with compositions of his own later recorded by Elvis Presley.
The family moved to Jacksonville, Florida when he was
young and while there he studied piano followed by the guitar. He had his first stab at writing
songs when he was fifteen but chose athletics and was awarded a football
scholarship to Oklahoma State University. He served in the Navy before
embarking on his career as a folk club singer in San Francisco and songwriting.
In 1962 he released The Balladeer, which would
be the first album of many during the course of his career. A decade later
in 1973 he had two of his most successful singles, which were “Boney
Fingers” and “When the Morning Comes” which was a duet
with Linda Ronstadt.
In 1977 he established Jeremiah Records and two years
later he achieved his greatest success with the hit “Della and the
Dealer”. In 1982 Jeremiah closed down and Hoyt hardly recorded until
1990 when he launched the comeback recording Spin the Wheel, which
would become his final album.
As a songwriter other artists often recorded his
songs. They included "Greenback Dollar"
for Kingston Trio, "Joy to the World" and “Never Been to
Spain” for Three Dog Night, "The Pusher" for Steppenwolf
and "No-No Song" for Ringo Starr.
His recordings were many and included his own Joy to
the World, Life Machine, Mr. Greenback Dollar Man, Pistol Packin’ Mama, Rusty Old Halo, Saturday’s
Child, Snowblind Friend, Southbound and Thunder
& Lightnin’ as well as appearances
on Travel Log by J.J. Cale, Columbia
Records: 1958-1986 by Johnny Cash, Texas Cookin’
by Guy Clark, Hobo’s Lullaby by Arlo
Guthrie and Martha Reeves by Martha Reeves among others.
Aside from working in the music industry he appeared in
TV shows and film such as Bonanza, I
Dream of Jeannie and McCloud and the movies The Black Stallion
and Gremlins along with a dozen
others. He also published a
book of original line drawings.
He died of a heart attack on 26th October 1999 in Victor,
Montana when he was 61 years old.
Hoyt Axton Recordings
Where Did the Money Go (Mark Dawson/Hoyt Axton)
Records JH 1008)(Double A)(US promo 45)
Three Dog Night recordings
Joy to the World (Hoyt Axton)
Old Gold OG-9795-B (UK 45)