Homer Joy penned Bakersfield's unofficial theme song. In honor of the late singer and songwriter, a sold out crowd packed Bucks Owens' Crystal Palace Thursday evening to remember the man behind "Streets of Bakersfield."
The song was made famous by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam. So, it was only fitting that family, friends, and fans would celebrate his life at the Crystal Palace.
"I think if Homer was able to see this he would probably be shedding a few tears of joy," said Suzan Joy of her husband.
Members of Joy's Okie Road Band took the stage to perform the hit song that almost didn't happen.
"He didn't ask for this song to be recorded. It just happened to be one of Buck Owens' favorite songs," said Morgan Joy, Homer Joy's oldest son.
The song became a #1 Billboard smash hit for Owens and Yoakam.
"My Dad sang Streets of Bakersfield, I'm going to guess 100,000 times. He thought that was one of his favorite songs, and he closed every show here with Streets of Bakersfield," noted John Owens, Buck Owens' son.
An original copy of the lyrics to the song are on display inside the Crystal Palace. "He just always had a soft spot in his heart for the town," said Morgan Joy.
The late Joy had fans not only in Bakersfield, but around the world. "My husband would say 'hey guys, I'd rather have you as a friend than a fan because if you're a friend I know you'll still like me when my music sucks'," explained Suzan Joy.
"A fellow just told me he felt he was my dad's best friend, but he's went all around Bakersfield and found about four or five other guys who said the same thing," said Morgan Joy.
When he wasn't singing or writing songs, Homer Joy dedicated his time to family and ministry work. "It just fed his soul," said Suzan Joy.
In 2006, Homer Joy had a heart transplant and moved to Bakersfield in 2010 when his new heart began to fail. On September 11th, he died reportedly from heart-related complications. He was 67 years old.
He has a life fulfilled, not necessarily by notoriety, but by the people in his life, here at home and far beyond the streets of Bakersfield.
"He'd say, I am the most blessed man I've ever known," she continued.