Songwriter Bill Dees, best known for collaborating with Roy Orbison to produce the 60s hit song “Oh, Pretty Woman,” died last Wednesday (October 26) at a nursing home Arkansas. He was 73.
According to ABC News, Dees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last summer, but his exact cause of death remains unknown. A memorial service is scheduled to take place Saturday, November 11 at Sanctuary of Hope church on Bee Creek Road in Branson.
Born in Electra, Texas on January 24, 1939, Dees developed an early interest in music as his mother taught him to play the ukulele and piano when he was just five years old.
He first met Orbison as a teenager in the late Fifties when his high school band, the Five Bops, was invited to open for the singer at a pair of shows in Texas.
After a string of failed bands and recordings, Dees moved to Nashville in 1964, and he and Orbison began to write together regularly, penning 67 songs together over the course of the next few years including “It’s Over,” “Born on the Wind,” and the 1964 hit “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
Dees and Orbison’s smash was prominently featured in the 90s film Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
In addition to co-writing with Orbison, Dees penned songs recorded by Johnny Cash (“Best Friend”), Loretta Lynn (“Me and Ole Crazy Bill”) and Glen Campbell (“It’s Over”).
Dees is survived by his wife Nancy Decker-Dees, four children and two step-children, a brother, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In memory of Bill Dees, watch Roy Orbinson perform “Oh, Pretty Woman” in the clip below: