After Billy Wayne Grammer signed under Monument Records in Nashville, Tennessee, he scored the big hit “Gotta Travel On”. Written by David Lazar, Larry Ehrlich, Paul Clayton and Tom Six, it became a million-selling single. The song made it onto both the country and pop music charts. It peaked at number 4 on the US Pop Singles chart and number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart in 1959. In the same year, he became a regular cast member on the Grand Ole Opry. Mr. Grammer named his band after his most outstanding hit “The Travel On Boys”.
Because of “Gotta Travel On”’s success, Buddy Holly used it as the opening song on his final tour in January and February 1959. Unfortunately, his tour ended in tragedy.
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A Sneak Peak at Grammer’s Life
Billy Wayne Grammer, born August 28, 1925, was an American country music singer and accomplished guitar player. He recorded the ever famous hit “Gotta Travel On”. Grammer, later on, became a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry. On occasion, he designed and marketed his namesake guitar after co-founding a guitar company, in Nashville, Tennessee.
On March 16, 1974, Billy Wayne delivered the invocation for the Grand Ole Opry House opening. In 1990, he was inducted into the Illinois Country Music Hall of Fame. This was along with Tex Williams, Lulu Belle and Scotty, and Patsy Montana.
In his later years, Grammer suffered from retinitis pigmentosa (a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina). This disease left him completely blind. On February 27, 2009, the Grand Ole Opry gave him an honoring ceremony for his 50-year membership.
Billy Wayne Grammer died on August 10, 2011, at the age of 85. Before this, he received treatment at Benton Hospital. The treatment was for a long-term illness, which included suffering a heart attack seven months earlier.
Billy Grammer, gotta travel on, The Jordanaires