BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – One of the last founding contributors to the Bakersfield Sound has died. Dallas Frazier, the hall-of-fame country songwriter behind such hits as “Elvira” and “Beneath Still Waters,” died Jan. 14, his family announced on Facebook.

He was 82.

Frazier was born Oct. 27, 1939, in Spiro, Oklahoma, but was raised primarily in Kern County – first on a ranch near a Pumpkin Center farm labor camp and then in Bakersfield after he won a talent contest at the Rainbow Gardens – now the Kern County Basque Club – where Ferlin Husky’s group, the Termites, was the house band.

Frazier eventually moved in with Husky and his wife and another young future star, Tommy Collins, who would become a lifelong friend. Frazier went on to make regular television appearances on Cousin Herb Henson’s “Trading Post,” debuting in 1953 as a big-eyed 14-year-old.

Frazier had just signed with Capitol Records and recorded two minor hits: “Ain’t You Had No Bringin’ Up at All” and “Love Life at 14.”

“Don’t ask what I knew about love then, because it wasn’t much,” Frazier said in “The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music.”

But Frazier was learning plenty about live television. His voice was polished, but his stage demeanor gave him away as the babe he truly was: older Bakersfield viewers might remember Frazier as the bandanna-wearing kid who sang with one end of his neckerchief in each hand.

As he warbled through a tune, Frazier kept time by yanking on the bandanna in a shoeshine motion against the back of his neck. Some might have considered it a nervous tic, but Frazier says he picked up the habit from Husky, his first Bakersfield mentor, on whom it somehow looked dashing. 

At age 15, Frazier joined Cliffie Stone’s “Hometown Jamboree,” a popular Los Angeles–based TV show that featured stars such as Tennessee Ernie Ford and Tommy Sands, and his star was on the rise.

In 1957 Frazier penned “Alley Oop,” which would become a No. 1 pop hit in 1960 for Gary Paxton – yet another Bakersfield-connected recording artist – and a thrown-together band Paxton called the Hollywood Argyles. 

A succession of hits, written by Frazier but recorded by others, followed, and in 1976, Frazier was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Even greater fame would follow, none greater than the Oak Ridge Boys’ version of his “Elvira,” a massive crossover hit.

Said Rolling Stone magazine: “Driven by its indelible ‘giddy up oom-papa-mow-mow’ refrain from the group’s deep-voiced Richard Sterban, the song was a 1981 smash, topping the country chart and breaking into the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

“We lost a dear friend today,” the Oak Ridge Boys wrote Friday on Facebook. “Dallas Frazier had an influence on our country music career from the beginning. … He wrote ‘The Baptism of Jesse’ but his influence in the 1980s was even greater when we recorded his song ‘Elvira.’”

Merle Haggard recorded three of Frazier’s songs: “California Cottonfields,” “Love Has a Mind of Its Own,” and “Too Many Bridges to Cross Over.” 

“Dallas Frazier is among the greatest country songwriters of all time,” said Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in a statement. “He could convey infectious fun with ‘Elvira,’ and then write something as stunningly sad and true as ‘Beneath Still Waters.’ He was a man of kindness, generosity, and faith, who overcame a hardscrabble upbringing to offer smiling gifts to all of us.”

All told, Frazier wrote at least 300 songs. He understood the formula. Nashville had “that commercial treadmill, where you develop a feel for what might sell and write to that feeling,” Frazier said in “The Bakersfield Sound.”

Among Frazier’s other hits were Ferlin Husky’s “Timber I’m Falling” in 1964, Charlie Rich’s “Mohair Sam” in 1966, and Jack Greene’s chart-topping “There Goes My Everything,” also in 1966, which earned Frazier a Grammy nomination.

George Jones and Connie Smith recorded entire albums of Frazier’s work, and country stars Willie Nelson and Moe Bandy also laid tracks of his songs.

Frazier earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1970 for “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me),” which Charley Pride took to No. 1. Emmylou Harris earned her fourth No. 1 in 1980 with Frazier’s devastating ballad “Beneath Still Waters,” which he originally wrote in 1967.

Services have not been announced.