Gary Talley


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Job Title
Musician, Songwriter

Gary Talley was the guitarist for the 1960s rock band, The Box Tops,  whose hits included "The Letter", and "Cry Like a Baby." Growing up in Memphis and in a musical family, his father taught three-year-old Gary to sing “You Are My Sunshine” while he played the guitar. At fourteen Gary was given a Fender Duo-Sonic, which he fell in love with and seemed to play all day and night. He joined two friends on acoustic guitar to form a trio during the big Folk Music boom of the 1960s, an era he refers to as the “great Folk Music scare.” In 1967 he joined the Devilles and stayed with them when the band’s name changed to The Box Tops. They recorded five albums, after which Gary worked endlessly in the studios playing and singing with such artists as Jerry Butler, Billy Lee Riley, Hank Ballard, Ace Cannon, Pat Boone, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dobie Gray, Freda Payne, Billy Joe Royal, and in addition can be heard singing backup on Willie Nelson’s hit recording of “Always on My Mind.”