Dean Dillon
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Dean Dillon
Dean Dillon
Dillon in 2017
Dillon in 2017
Background information
Larry Dean Flynn[1]
Dean Rutherford, Dean Dalton
Born (1955-03-26) March 26, 1955 (age 65)
OriginLake City, Tennessee, United States
Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Gary Stewart
George Strait

Dean Dillon (born March 26, 1955) is an American country music artist and songwriter. Between 1982 and 1993, Dillon recorded six studio albums on various labels, and charted several singles on the Billboard country charts. Since 1993, Dillon has continued to write hit songs for other artists, most notably George Strait. In 2002, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.[2] Dillon is the father of country music songwriter, Jessie Jo Dillon, and the two often collaborate.

In 2020, Dillon was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[3]

Early life

Dean Dillon was born Larry Dean Flynn[1] on March 26, 1955 in Lake City, Tennessee, where he was raised. He began playing the guitar at the age of seven, and when he was 15 he made his first public appearance as a singer and performer in the Knoxville variety show Jim Clayton Startime.[2] After completing Oak Ridge High School in 1973 he hitchhiked to Nashville with hopes of starting a music career.[4][5] Dillon first recorded on the Plantation label as Dean Rutherford, and then as Dean Dalton. Upon moving to RCA Records, he was persuaded to change his recording name; record executive Jerry Bradley randomly picked the name Dillon from a telephone book.[1]


Recording Artist

As a recording artist between 1979 and 1983, Dillon charted eight times, including one top 30 hit, "I'm into the Bottle (To Get You out of My Mind)." He was featured on several duet albums with songwriting partner Gary Stewart.[1] Early songwriting success earned Dillon a recording deal with Capitol Records for whom he released two studio albums. In 1991, now at Atlantic Records, Dillon released his most successful and most recent studio album, Out of Your Ever Lovin' Mind.[2]


As a songwriter, early successes includes David Allan Coe's 1981 hit "Tennessee Whiskey". Dillon has written many singles for George Strait, including "The Chair," "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her," "It Ain't Cool to Be Crazy About You," "Ocean Front Property," "Famous Last Words of a Fool," "I've Come to Expect It From You," "If I Know Me," "Easy Come, Easy Go," "Lead On," "The Best Day," "She Let Herself Go", "Living for the Night," "Drinkin' Man" and "I Believe". Strait and his son Bubba co-wrote the latter three with Dillon.[2]

Record Label

In 2018 he met Sundance Head at a Houston Rodeo and fell in love with his voice. "The first time I heard 'Dance' I thought, 'where has THIS guy been hiding? I've been in this business all my life, and with the exception of a couple of people, I've never heard anybody sing the way this man does. He is extremely special," says Dillon.[6] With the help of business associates from Texas Dean Dillon create his own record label WildCatter Records, signing Sundance Head.[7] On January 25, 2019 their first album together Stained Glass and Neon [8] will be released!



Year Album US Country Label
1982 Brotherly Love (with Gary Stewart) 23 RCA
1983 Those Were the Days (with Gary Stewart) 54
1988 Slick Nickel -- Capitol
1989 I've Learned to Live --
1991 Out of Your Ever Lovin' Mind 58 Atlantic
1993 Hot, Country and Single --


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
CAN Country
1979 "I'm Into the Bottle (To Get You Out of My Mind)" 30 -- N/A
1980 "What Good Is a Heart" 28 --
"Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her" 25 --
1981 "They'll Never Take Me Alive" 57 --
"Jesus Let Me Slide" 77 --
1982 "Brotherly Love" (with Gary Stewart) 41 -- Brotherly Love
"Play This Old Working Day Away" 74 --
"You to Come Home To" 65 --
1983 "Those Were the Days" (with Gary Stewart) 47 -- Those Were the Days
"Smokin' in the Rockies" (with Gary Stewart) 71 --
"Famous Last Words of a Fool" 67 -- N/A
1988 "The New Never Wore Off My Sweet Baby" 51 -- Slick Nickel
"I Go to Pieces" 39 --
"Hey Heart" 58 --
1989 "It's Love That Makes You Sexy" 61 60 I've Learned to Live
"Back in the Swing of Things" 89 70
1991 "Holed Up in Some Honky Tonk" 69 50 Out of Your Ever Lovin' Mind
"Friday Night's Woman" 39 26
"Don't You Even (Think About Leavin')" 62 71
1993 "Hot, Country and Single" 62 -- Hot, Country and Single
"--" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

Year Video Director
1988 "The New Never Wore Off My Sweet Baby"[11] John Lloyd Miller
1991 "Holed Up in Some Honky Tonk"
"Don't You Even (Think About Leaving)"
1993 "Hot, Country & Single"[12] Mary Newman-Said

Songs written by Dean Dillon

Dillon has worked with a younger generation of country stars including Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney. In 2002, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Bob Dylan and Shel Silverstein. Dillon co-wrote two songs on Toby Keith's 2005 album Honkytonk University, and five on his 2006 album White Trash with Money, including the single "A Little Too Late."

Dillon has either written or co-written the following singles for other artists:

Artist Song Co-writers
Alabama "Changes Comin' On"
Brooks & Dunn "I'll Never Forgive My Heart" Ronnie Dunn, Janine Dunn
David Allan Coe "Tennessee Whiskey" Linda Hargrove
Gary Stewart "An Empty Glass" Gary Stewart
George Jones "Tennessee Whiskey" Linda Hargrove
George Strait "A Real Good Place to Start" Gary Nicholson
George Strait "Any Old Love Won't Do" Frank Dycus
George Strait "Back to Bein' Me" Hank Cochran
George Strait "Down and Out" Frank Dycus
George Strait "Drinkin' Man" George Strait, Bubba Strait
George Strait "Easy Come, Easy Go" Aaron Barker
George Strait "Famous Last Words of a Fool" Rex Huston
George Strait "For Christ's Sake, It's Christmas" Hank Cochran
George Strait "Four Down and Twelve Across" Tom Douglas
George Strait "Friday Night Fever" Frank Dycus, Blake Mevis
George Strait "Give Me More Time" Al Anderson, Scotty Emerick
George Strait "Good News, Bad News" Dale Dodson, Lee Ann Womack
George Strait "Her Goodbye Hit Me in the Heart" Frank Dycus
George Strait "He's Got That Something Special" George Strait, Bubba Strait
George Strait "Holding My Own" Pam Belford
George Strait "Honk If You Honky Tonk" Ken Mellons, John Northrup
George Strait "Honky Tonk Crazy" Frank Dycus
George Strait "Honkytonkville" Buddy Brock, Kim Williams
George Strait "I Ain't Her Cowboy Anymore" Scotty Emerick, Maria Cannon-Goodman
George Strait "I Believe" George Strait, Bubba Strait
George Strait "I Get Along With You" Frank Dycus, Murray F. Cannon, Raleigh Squires, and Jimmy Darrell
George Strait "I'd Just as Soon Go" Aaron Barker
George Strait "If I Know Me" Pam Belford
George Strait "If Heartaches Were Horses" Buddy Brock, Wil Nance
George Strait "If It's Gonna Rain" Scotty Emerick, Donny Kees
George Strait "I'm All Behind You Now"
George Strait "Is It That Time Again" Buddy Cannon, Vern Gosdin
George Strait "It Ain't Cool to Be Crazy About You" Royce Porter
George Strait "I've Come to Expect It From You" Buddy Cannon
George Strait "Lead On" Teddy Gentry
George Strait "Living for the Night" George Strait, Bubba Strait
George Strait "Marina del Rey" Frank Dycus
George Strait "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her
George Strait "Ocean Front Property" Hank Cochran, Royce Porter
George Strait "Peace of Mind" Aaron Barker
George Strait "Rockin' in the Arms of Your Memory" Norro Wilson
George Strait "She Let Herself Go" Kerry Kurt Phillips
George Strait "She's Playing Hell Trying to Get Me to Heaven" David Wills, Charles Quillen
George Strait "She Took the Wind From His Sails" Donny Kees
George Strait "That's My Kind of Woman" Tammy Hyler
George Strait "That's the Breaks" Royce Porter
George Strait "That's Where I Wanna Take Our Love" Hank Cochran
George Strait "The Best Day" Carson Chamberlain
George Strait "The Breath You Take" Jessie Jo Dillon, Casey Beathard
George Strait "The Chair" Hank Cochran
George Strait "The Road Less Traveled" Buddy Brock
George Strait "Unwound" Frank Dycus
George Strait "We're Supposed to Do That Now and Then" David Anthony, Joseph-Nicholas-Pancrac Royer
George Strait "West Texas Town" Robert Earl Keen
George Strait "What Would Your Memories Do" Hank Cochran
George Strait "When You're in Love" Kerry Kurt Phillips
George Strait "Without Me Around" John Northrup
George Strait "Without You Here" Royce Porter
George Strait "You Sure Got This Ol' Redneck Feelin' Blue" Buzz Rabin
Hank Williams, Jr., Waylon Jennings, and Ernest Tubb "Leave Them Boys Alone"
Keith Whitley "Miami, My Amy"
Keith Whitley "Homecoming '63"
Kenny Chesney "A Chance" Royce Porter
Kenny Chesney "A Lot of Things Different" Bill Anderson
Kenny Chesney "Be As You Are" Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney "Boats" Kenny Chesney, Scotty Emerick
Kenny Chesney "Guitars and Tiki Bars" Kenny Chesney, Mark Tamburino
Kenny Chesney "I'm Alive" Kenny Chesney, Mark Tamburino
Kenny Chesney "She Always Says It First" Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney "Soul of a Sailor" Kenny Chesney, Scotty Emerick
Kenny Chesney "The Angel at the Top of My Tree" Kenny Chesney, Buddy Cannon
Lee Ann Womack "Have You Seen That Girl?"
Lee Ann Womack "Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago"
Lee Ann Womack "We've Called It Everything But Quits"
Lorrie Morgan "Is It Raining At Your House" Hank Cochran, Vern Gosdin
Pam Tillis "All the Good Ones Are Gone"
Pam Tillis "Spilled Perfume"
Paul Overstreet "If I Could Bottle This Up"
Rodney Atkins "The Corner" Dale Dodson, Jessie Jo Dillon
Sammy Kershaw "One Day Left to Live"
Shenandoah "Darned If I Don't (Danged If I Do)" Ronnie Dunn
Toby Keith "A Little Too Late" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Ain't No Right Way" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Burnin' Moonlight" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Get My Drink On" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Go with Her" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "I Ain't Already There" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Knock Yourself Out" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Note to Self" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "Too Far This Time" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith "You Ain't Leaving (Thank God Are Ya)" Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick
Vern Gosdin "Is It Raining at Your House"
Vern Gosdin "Set 'Em Up, Joe"
Vince Gill "Whippoorwill River" Vince Gill


  1. ^ a b c d "Poets and Prophets: Salute to Legendary Country Songwriter Dean Dillon Read more: Poets and Prophets: Salute to Legendary Country Songwriter Dean Dillon". Country Music Hall of Fame. 1 November 2008. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Sterling, Todd. "Dean Dillon". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Biography". Dean Dillon. Retrieved 2013.
  5. ^ Clouse, Allie (August 13, 2020). "East Tennessee native Dean Dillon joins the Country Music Hall of Fame". Knoxville News Sentinel.
  6. ^ "About Sundance". Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Dean Dillon Launches Wildcatter Records, Signs 'Voice' Winner Sundance Head". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "New music from Sundance Head - "Stained Glass and Neon" -". Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Dean Dillon - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Dean Dillon - RPM Country Singles". RPM. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "New Videoclips" (PDF). Billboard. August 13, 1988.
  12. ^ "CMT : Videos : Dean Dillon : Hot, Country, And Single". Country Music Television. Retrieved 2011.

External links

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