Billy Dean sings “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”

Hailing from the small town of Quincy, Florida (population: 7,735), William Harold Dean Jr. began pursuing a career in music at the young age of eight years old as a member of his father’s band. Also a talented athlete on the basketball court, he was offered a scholarship to East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. Within the first year, however, he realized his heart wasn’t in it, and he left college and basketball behind to seriously pursue his career as a musician.
In his twenties, the young musician, known professionally as Billy Dean, got several big breaks toward stardom: In 1988, he appeared and won “Best Male Vocalist” on the popular CBS network program, “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon; and he appeared in a number of  national television advertisements for McDonald’s, Chevrolet, and Valvoline. By the end of the eighties, Dean had secured a publishing deal with EMI music and signed a recording contract with SBK Records, a subsidiary of Liberty Records.
His debut album, Young Man, was certified Gold by the RIAA and featured two Top-5 hits on the Billboard charts: “Only Here for a Little While” and “Somewhere in My Broken Heart,” the later earning Dean his first Grammy nomination for “Song of the Year” and top honors from the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMs), where he was also named “Top New Male Vocalist of the Year.” He also received recognition by the Country Music Association with a nomination for the “Horizon Award.”
Four years later, Billy finally claimed his Grammy for Amazing Grace, A Country Tribute to Gospel, an album featuring Martina McBride, Allison Krauss, the Charlie Daniels Band and others. In 2000, Dean also claimed Billboard’s elusive No. 1 position for his cameo vocals on Kenny Rogers’ “Buy Me a Rose,” alongside Alison Krauss.
Throughout his career, Billy has recorded a total of 11 studio albums and five compilation albums, which have accounted for four Gold records, 23 charting singles, 11 of which placed in the Top-10.
In 2017, following Billy’s induction in the Florida Artist Hall of Fame, he decided to return to his roots and moved back to his hometown of Quincy, where he currently resides with his wife, Stephanie. Billy continues to perform and write – doing what he does best – telling the stories that have become the soundtrack of our lives.
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