Songwriter Dallas Frazier, who penned the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira,” Gene Watson’s “Fourteen Carat Mind” and Charley Pride’s “All I Have To Offer You Is Me,” died on Friday, January 14. He was 82.
Frazier was born in Spiro, Oklahoma into one of the many families who left the Dust Bowl for California between 1935 to 1940. Frazier was raised in Bakersfield, California, where he began writing songs by the time he was 12. At the age of 14 he was recording for Capitol Records. His success would come as a songwriter, however, beginning with his first hit, “Ally Oop,” by the Hollywood Argyles in 1960. In 1963 he moved to Nashville, where his success as a songwriter became solidified when Jack Green recorded “There Goes My Everything” four years later. The song was named the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year and Frazier found himself in much demand as a songwriter.
Frazier began co-writing, often with A.L. “Doodle”Owens, and the two had Charley Pride’s first number one hit in 1969, “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me).” Pride went on to record three other number one’s written by the duo, “(I’m So) Afraid Of Losing You Again,” “I Can’t Believe That You’ve Stopped Loving Me” and “Then Who Am I.”
Connie Smith has recorded 72 songs written by Frazier, including “If It Ain’t Love,” “Ain’t Had No Lovin’,” “Run Away Little Tears” and “Ain’t Love A Good Thing.” The last song she recorded of Frazier’s was “I Just Don’t Believe In Me Anymore,” which was the inspiration for her latest album, “The Cry Of The Heart,” released in 2021.
George Jones not only recorded such Frazier classics as his 1967 hit “If My Heart Had Windows,” he cut an entire album of Frazier’s songs, “George Jones Sings The Songs of Dallas Frazier.”
In 1981, Frazier had two major hits, Gene Watson’s “Fourteen Carat Mind” and the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira.” He had recorded “Elvira” as did Rodney Crowell, but it wasn’t until the Oak Ridge Boys took the song and made it their own that it became a major hit. But “Elvira” was not the first time they had recorded one of Frazier songs.
“For over five decades, songs written by Dallas Frazier have affected The Oak Ridge Boys’ career like no other writer’s,” group member Duane Allan wrote on Facebook. “’The Baptism Of Jesse Taylor’ won a Grammy Award for us when we were a Gospel group in the mid-70’s. Then, in 1981, ‘Elvira’ became the biggest song in the music industry, winning all of the awards and selling over two and a half million 45 rpm singles. The Oak Ridge Boys and our families, along with millions of fans and friends who love his music, join in prayer for Sharon and the Frazier family. May Dallas rest in peace in the arms of Jesus.”
“Elvira” was one of three of Frazier’s songs that was nominated for a Grammy. The other two were Green’s “There Goes My Everything” and Pride’s “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me).”
Others who have recorded Frazier’s songs include Emmy Lou Harris (“Beneath Still Waters), Tanya Tucker (What’s Your Mama’s Name?”), both number one singles. His songs were also recorded by Moe Bandy, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Hawkins, Roy Head, Engelbert Humperdinck, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Patty Loveless with Willie Nelson, Charlie Louvin, Dan McCafferty, Anne Murray with Glen Campbell, Poco, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, O.C. Smith, George Strait, Randy Travis,
Frazier was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976. He became a minister in 1988.
Other artists relayed their sadness at the loss of Dallas Frazier.
“Country music has made history because of songwriters like Dallas Frazier penning “Elvira” for the Oak Ridge Boys, and “All I Have To Offer You Is Me” for Charley Pride. It doesn’t get any better than that! Dallas Frazier will always be loved.” – Janie Fricke
“Rest in peace, Dallas Frazier. We’ll probably always sing your songs.” – Jesse & Noah
“I’m sorry to hear the great songwriter and great man, Dallas Frazier has passed. He wrote so many of our greatest Country hits including my first #1, “Fourteen Carat Mind.” He also wrote “Elvira,” “There Goes My Everything,” “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me”) and so many more. He was humble and kind on top of that. We were just lucky to have him writing his songs for Country Music. RIP Dallas. – Gene Watson