Singer-Songwriter Vikki Sallee Dillard Passes

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• September 19, 2013
vikki sallee-dillard

Vikki Sallee in vintage publicity photo. Courtesy hillbillyhollywood.com.

Nashville recording artist Vikki Sallee has died at age 72.

The singer-songwriter billed herself as the “Queen of Hillbilly Hollywood” and maintained the hillbillyhollywood website. She was the widow of Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Doug Dillard (1937-2012) of The Dillards.

Vikki Sallee began her singing career over KWHN radio in Ft. Smith, Ark. As a teen, she performed with Bob Luman and Wanda Jackson. Jackson became her mentor, and Sallee sang with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member in Las Vegas venues such as The Golden Nugget and The Thunderbird.

She started her recording career on Reprise Records with such singles as “There Goes the Lucky One” and “Favorite Lies.” Moving to Dot Records, she put out “Jimmy Darling,” “Little Wishing Star” and “Wild Angel,” which became her most successful single.

Sallee moved to Nashville in 1969 and signed with Tree Publishing. Loretta Lynn recorded her song “Sometimes I Go Crazy” in 1980.

The songwriter formed her own publishing company and co-wrote her theme song, 1980’s “Hillbilly Hollywood.” It was recorded by Dr. Hook’s Ray Sawyer, among others. It also became the title tune to her final CD.

Vikki Sallee Dillard is survived by sister Bobbie Sallee Rivarde and daughters Kelley Snead and Kristi Ritson, as well as several nieces and nephews. Visitation will be on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home. A Life Celebration service will be held there at noon. Interment will be at Harpeth Hills Memory Garden.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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