Jerry Wallace, who shot to fame in the late 1950s with a pair of hit songs
including "Primrose Lane," has died. He was 79.
One of his three sons, Jerry Wallace Jr., said Wallace died Monday night
of congestive heart failure at his home in Victorville.
Wallace began recording in 1951 and scored his first major hit in 1958 with
the release of "How the Time Flies," followed a year later with the upbeat
"Primrose Lane" written by Wayne Shanklin.
Gene Kennedy, owner of Tennessee-based Door Knob Records, which
released several of Wallace's records in the late 1970s,
said "Primrose Lane" sold more than a million copies. Kennedy said it
was Wallace's biggest-selling record.
Jerry Wallace Jr., 44, said his father was passionate about horse racing
and would often watch the races at Hollywood Park in Inglewood. The son shared
his dad's enthusiasm and went on to become a horse trainer.
"He always had a great time," Wallace Jr. said. "He told me a few weeks before
he died not to cry for him. He had a great life."
Born in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 15, 1928, Wallace was the son of a grocery
store owner. He grew up in Missouri and Arizona before moving to Hollywood.
Wallace effectively retired in the late 1970s and stopped recording. A Navy veteran
who served around the time of World War II, Wallace stopped performing too, with the
exception of some low-key concerts for Victorville veterans.
According to the Hit Parade Hall of Fame Web site, Wallace scored more than 45
chart successes on both the pop and country music hit parades.
In 1972, Wallace was nominated for the Country Music Association Award as
male vocalist of the year and "To Get To You" was nominated as single of the year.
The song stayed on the hit parade for 22 weeks straight.
Wallace is survived by four children, two grandchildren and his ex-wife, Reva Stone.
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