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Billy Joe Royal dead: Country singer dies at 73

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Tom Hill/WireImage

Pop and country act Billy Joe Royal has died. The Georgia-bred singer died on Tuesday night while at home in North Carolina. Singer BJ Thomas was one of the first to share the news, posting on twitter, “My best friend Billy Joe Royal, died this morning. He was a sweet and talented man. Never a bad word. One of a kind.” 

Royal was signed to Columbia records in the 1960s as a pop act, where he released hits like “Down in the Boondocks,” “Hush,” and “Cherry Hill Park.” He then bounced around smaller labels before embracing the music of his adopted homtown, Nashville, in the late 1980s. His country hits included “If The Jukebox Took Teardrops” and “Searchin’ For Some Kind of Clue” — his most recent release was a gospel record titled His First Gospel Album

He was slated to tour this fall with Ronnie McDowell.