What to know
Billy Lee Riley was born in Pocahontas on October 5, 1933. During his early childhood he lived just off the old Highway 67 on Haw Street. Billy Lee recorded his first several hits, including “Red Hot” at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis. His background in early rock and roll is featured there. Early on, Jerry Lee Lewis played back-up piano for Billy Lee. After moving to L.A. in the early 1960s, Billy Lee was a session musician, recording with Dean Martin, the Beach Boys and Herb Alpert. Listed among his biggest fans is Bob Dylan. Billy Lee’s album, “Hot Damn” was nominated for a Grammy in 1997. His last record, “Hillbilly Rockin’ Man,” was in 2006. Billy Lee, who passed away in 2009, is buried in Newport’s Walnut Grove Cemetery.