Billy Edd Wheeler is a long-time resident (48 years and counting) of Swannanoa, North Carolina. He is perhaps best known for a song he wrote and recorded, “Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back,” which was a top five country hit in 1964 and reached the top 50 on the pop chart. As an artist, Billy Edd has had chart singles with “I Ain’t the Worryin’ Kind” (1968), “West Virginia Woman” and “Fried Chicken and a Country Tune” (1968), “200 lbs O’Slingin’ Hound” (1972), “Duel Under the Snow” (1979) and “Daddy” (with Rashell Richmond) in 1981.
The songs of Billy Edd Wheeler are known all over the world. “The Reverend Mr. Black” by The Kingston Trio in 1963, “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter in 1967, “Blistered” by Johnny Cash in 1969 and “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers during 1979-1980 are a sample of his songs, which have been recorded by Judy Collins, Jefferson Airplane, Bobby Darin, Neil Young and Elvis Presley.
His songwriting put him in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame but Billy Edd Wheeler is more than a songwriter. He has written 16 plays, including “Hatfields & McCoys,” an outdoor drama staged in Beckley, West Virginia, and “Young Abe Lincoln in Lincoln City, Indiana.”
Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County, West Virginia on December 9, 1932 and attended Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina and Berea College in Kentucky; he has received “Distinguished Alumnus” awards from both institutions. After college, he served as a Navy pilot and then did graduate work in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.
Billy Edd Wheeler is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.