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Songwriter Bill Dees Dies in Mountain Home

By: Sam Clanton
Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012

Singer, songwriter and entertainer Bill Dees of Forsyth died Wednesday night at a nursing facility in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this summer. 

Dees is best known for his collaborations with Roy Orbison, including co-writing the international hit songs "Oh, Pretty Woman" and "It's Over." Dees also wrote songs that were recorded by Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell and others.

Bill was originally from Borger, Texas, but had lived in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks the last three decades. Funeral services are pending for 73-year-old William "Bill" Dees.

Comments (17) - comment on this story

Westside - 10/25/2012 4:21:56 AM
Had the honor of meeting Mr. Dees. He was such a great upbeat person who loved to sing his songs in my store. R.I.P.!!!!
Vickie Davis - 10/25/2012 8:29:15 AM
Bill used to be our neighbor and sang at our daughter's wedding at Big Cedar! He was always smiling, laughing and singing of course. He'd drive by on his ATV and bust out with a song in the driveway, that's just the nature of this loving, friendly person who has passed and left us with his music. Thanks for the memories Bill and every time I hear Pretty Woman I'll remember you ;-D Prayers of comfort for your family. <3<3
Penny Rawls - 10/25/2012 3:39:17 PM
I know I wasn't the only one Bill sang to whenever and wherever !! Yes, he was always upbeat,ready with his philosophy of love and sharing it !
Ashley Dees - 10/25/2012 8:47:49 PM
This man was my husbands great uncle. It was a shame that I never got a chance to meet him. I know that he is in a better place and is not suffering anymore. I know he family will be touched for all the people that care.
Rest In Peace - 10/25/2012 8:48:12 PM
I'll never forget Bill singing all those songs about love - his favorite word, subject and experience! I remember a recent tune of his called "People Person", excellent song. Condolences and love to the family. Bill will be missed and more importantly, remembered by so many.
Brian Atwood - 10/26/2012 8:01:38 AM
I had the pleasure of knowing Bill and calling him my friend.He always had laughter and song in his heart in anequal measure with a love that was apparent from the moment you met him! My favorite memory of Bill was watching him sing and perform at a BBQ grill with a meat fork in his hand. Bill could use anything as an instrument,that grill never turned out a sweeter song than when Bill played it! I will miss him as will thousands of others around the world. For Bill life really was a song,and the sweet melody of his life left a mark on our lives that will forever carry on!
Mike Dees - 10/26/2012 2:56:19 PM
My brother was a very unique and very talented singer, song writer, spirit filled, God loving, generous and positive thinking man I have ever known. He always had a new song every time I talked to him. His imagination was something that drove him and provided his life. His songs are things that will endure forever.
Cathy Jensen, San Francisco - 10/26/2012 4:47:32 PM
I never met Bill, but had the great pleasure of speaking with him many, many times when I worked in the same church with his cousin Jim Dees. What a joy it was to answer the phone and hear his voice; he quoted scripture, told a story, or best of all would sing a song he had just written! My condolences and prayers to all of his family -- he will be sorely missed.
Eric White - 10/26/2012 6:19:06 PM
Bill was one of my favorite pizza customers in Hooks and New Boston Texas in the 80's. I kept pepperoncini peppers for him. When I moved back to Ohio I reunited with Bill on the internet. Bill sang Pretty Woman to several of my lady friends. He is with the Lord as he had mentioned many times about finding him. Great guy...
Jacque Williams - 10/26/2012 7:40:41 PM
I got to talk with Mr. Dees many times. He was always very nice and loved to talk about music. Sorry to hear of his passing. Prayers for his family and friends he left behind
David & Terri Bigham - 10/26/2012 10:41:25 PM
Bill you were such an awesome man to know, we enjoyed so many great times together either at our home or at some off the wall place, I loved that we had the honor to know you, I will treasury all of the many memories of all of all times together, one of the most memorable was our first diner together at a restaurant..the check arrived at the table... I grabbed it and paid our were so amazed that someone wanted to know the man and not the money, we had so many great dinners together either at different restaurant or at our house or at your house...I still have the special tape that you recorded just for David and I, we will cherish this forever, many of these songs have never been published...WE WILL MISS you Bill....if you get the chance TAKE IT...we have so many memories of all of our wonderful times together..I remember you always had your guitar, when you would sing at the house or wherever we would be, you always gave me chills when you would sing...your voice could light many candles..We will miss you but we look forward to seeing you again...Love to your wife Nancy and your children
Vickie Hopper - 10/27/2012 4:58:44 AM
I met Bill at the nursing facility I worked at. One day while i was cleaning his room, he started singing Pretty Woman to me. I took my son and daughter to meet him, to see if he could motivate my son enough to open up and sing because i know he has potential. I've had the pleasure to meet Bill's family. We thought very highly of Bill and we wish we could have known him longer. Love you Bill! <3 ~ Vickie Hopper and family
Goldie Bullock - 10/27/2012 7:51:36 PM
I never had the pleasure of meeting Bill but had a mutual friend.I had the privilege of talking with him on the phone a few times,he always had a song to sing a scripture to quote or a funny story to tell. I think of Bill every time I hear the song, Oh Pretty Woman. Prayers to Bill's family.R.I.P Bill you will be greatly missed and always remembered.
Les Janetzki - 10/27/2012 11:36:03 PM
One of the great pleasues of my life has been meeting with and chatting to, Bill Dees, such a wonderful man, so friendly and down to earth,so sad that Bill has passed, however Bill being Bill, will probably be singing and playing guitar with Roy once again, forever rest in peace my friend.
Greg Downey Borger,Texas - 10/28/2012 8:01:26 AM
I'm from Borger, Texas, and have spent most of my adult life playing guitar for a living. When I was a kid, alot of the old time musicians around Borger told me stories about Bill - but I always wondered about the authenticity of the stories. Then, in the 90's, i was playing at the Holiday Inn in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Someone introduced me to Bill, and we talked the night away - about Borger, and some of the old guys who had told me all those stories. Several yeras ago, when my kids taught me to e-mail, i saw his name mentioned somewhere on the net, and i sent him a message. it was quite long. I went into great detail about when and where i met a man who was presented to me as THE Bill Dees. I told him that if that was indeed him, it had been quite an honor, and asked if, based on the time and location, it could have been him. And i did get a response from Bill, and given the two-page message I had sent him, I found it humorous. It simply said......"you are correct".
Danny L. Stephens - 10/30/2012 12:49:26 PM
I've known Bill since we were both "youngsters", back in Borger/Phillips, TX. He was a wonderful addition and attraction to our Friday night festivities at the World Oilman's Tennis Tournament in Houston last year. This man always had some good things to say, and would pray for you at the drop of a hat. I will miss his wonderful phone calls.
Marjorie Privette - 11/04/2012 8:53:58 AM
Bill Dees and family lived in Ozark ,Arkansas for while and during that time my son and his son were classmates. Our town has a Square Gathering every year in September and Bill and his band entertained us with his songs. Pretty Woman of course was a hit and to this day I always think of Bill as I watched him perform that day so long ago. Talented man!!!