Franklin Delano Roosevelt carried the hopes and prayers of a lot of Americans when he rose to prominence in the midst of the Great Depression, so much so that many new parents named their offspring after him. That was obviously the case with Franklin Delano Reeves, who was born just a few days after FDR was nominated for president in 1932.
While growing up as part of a large family in North Carolina, Del Reeves showed a lot of musical ability and drive very early in life. By age 12 he was hosting his own radio show, and as he grew to adulthood he continued to keep his eye on a career in music. In the early 1950s, after attending college for a while and then fulfilling his military obligation, he managed to land a recording contract with Capitol Records.
By then he’d relocated to California, but even though he did gain a lot of experience over the next few years while appearing on radio and on stage, he wasn’t selling a lot of records. Later in the decade he moved to Nashville and signed a new deal with Decca, which led to his most successful period. During the 1960s he spun out hit after hit, including his biggest — the chart-topping “Girl On The Billboard” — the song that would lead to his becoming known as The Doodle-Oo-Doo-Doo Kid.
But Reeves had a lot of other solid hits, including “The Belles of Southern Bell,” a follow-up to his big song that also did very well, along with “Looking at the World Through a Windshield,” a favorite of truckers. Other Top Ten records included “Good Time Charlie’s,” “Be Glad,” and “The Philadelphia Fillies.” For a while it seemed as if he was everywhere, appearing on TV and on stage in venues like the Grand Ole Opry, where he often used comedy and impressions to entertain fans. He even had small parts in several movies, but things inevitably began to wind down during the 1970s, although he recorded some nice duets with Billie Jo Spears. In later years Reeves turned more and more to working behind the scenes in the music business. He died in 2007 at age 74.