Spectropop remembers

DAN FOLGER (1943 - 2006)

Nashville-based songwriter Dan Folger - whose compositions were recorded by Roy Orbison, Tom Jones, the Casinos, the Newbeats, Larry Henley, Barbara Mills, Joe Melson, Sue Thompson, the Tymes, the Box Tops, Mickey Newbury, Nick Cave, Frank Ifield, Gordon Waller, Kris Jensen, Gail Wynters, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs and many others - died in March 2006. He was 62.

He was born Dan Warren Folger on April 11th, 1943 in San Rafael, California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from the city of San Francisco. His family - which included one older brother and one younger sister - moved to Midland, Texas before Dan started school. By the age of three, he was playing piano by ear. When he heard a song on the radio that he liked, he would sit down and play it with ease and flourish. He also enjoyed playing the harmonica.

By his teens, he had met Roy Orbison and Joe Melson, who lived in nearby Odessa, Texas. They would occasionally practice in the Folger living room. After Orbison and Melson moved to Nashville, they encouraged Dan to move there, too. They put him in touch with Acuff-Rose Music Publishers and Hickory Records, where he was placed under contract. Dan worked closely with Don Gant, Wesley Rose and many of the finest record producers of that era. His most frequent writing partners were Joe Melson and Mickey Newbury. Dan gained a reputation as a songwriter to watch and recorded four singles for Hickory between '62 and '66.

He recorded the great 'The Way Of The Crowd' for Elf Records in 1967 and later joined the Gators, which consisted of Dan on keyboards, Steve Bess on drums and vocals, Paul Jensen on guitar and Quitman Dennis on bass guitar, sax and flute. They recorded an album, 'The Gators In Concert', on Bulletin Records and promoted it by touring military bases on the Eastern Seaboard. Dan joined several other rock and country bands in the 1970s and toured all over the USA. In the 1980s he was with a couple of Christian bands.

Married briefly to Kathy Childress in the early '60s, he never stopped loving her and never married again. Lost love was abiding theme in most of his songs, even before he met Kathy. Dan died on May 23rd, 2006 in Bentonville, Arkansas after a lifelong struggle with alcoholism. He is survived by a brother, two sisters, four nephews and many cousins.

(Adapted from a tribute by Dan's sister, Brenda Kippa, at

Dan Warren Folger, songwriter, singer and musician:
born April 11th, 1943 - died March 23rd, 2006