"Girl On The Billboard" Songwriter Dies


The Road Hammers photo courtesy of Montage Music Group.

Jan. 5, 2009 — Walter Haynes, a producer and steel guitarist who wrote the Road Hammers’ 2008 single "Girl On The Billboard," died Jan. 1 in Tyler, Texas, at the age of 80.

"Billboard" was inspired, according to The Tennessean, when Walter spied a Coca-Cola roadside ad featuring a female model in a bikini during the 1960s. He wrote ideas for the song in the dust on the dashboard of his car, earning a No. 1 single with the song in 1965 after it was recorded by Del Reeves. Like Walter, Del also died on New Year’s Day, passing away two years ago.

"[Walter] and I were roommates in the early 1950s," bass player Bob Moore told The Tennessean. "He had a lot of fun, and he was just a plain old nice guy."

As a steel player, Walter contributed to Patsy Cline’s "Crazy" and "She’s Got You," as well as recordings by Little Jimmy Dickens, Connie Smith and Billy Walker. As a producer, he oversaw Cal Smith’s recording of "Country Bumpkin" and Jeanne Pruett’s "Satin Sheets."

"Girl On The Billboard" became a key piece for the Road Hammers last year when the band was featured in a reality series on GAC.

Walter’s funeral was held Sunday in Tyler.