Ben Dorcy, the first roadie, you will be missed

www.chrono.com

On Saturday morning it was announced that Dorcy had died at the age of 92 after decades of service and friendship to some of music’s biggest stars

Dorcy, it is said, invented the concept of what a roadie’s job would become back in the 1950s. According to rock history before the term “roadie” was in fashion the guy who loaded cases and made sure musicians were content before and after showtime were just called “bandboys.”

Before he became a piece of music history. Dorcy, nicknamed “Lovey”, was sailor in World War II. He served in the United State Navy until an attack on his aircraft carrier left him with a metal plate in his head. He was honorably discharged and after returning home to finish high school, he found his way to becoming an ice dancer with a “Holiday on Ice” tour.

An injury sidelined him and he eventually became a “band’s boy” or stagehand for various touring artists in and around San Antonio. He hit it off with country artist Hank Thompson, who was so impressed by Dorcy that he took him on tour. In the mid-50s Dorcy would become John Wayne’s personal assistant and valet, meeting the Duke while working for Nudie Cohn, the renowned maker of fanciful rhinestone-laden suits that became synonymous with country music fashion.

During his time with Wayne he even got to appear as an extra in “The Alamo”.

 

Willie Nelson and Dorcy would meet while the latter was working with Ray Price. He became beloved by Price for his innate skills at making things happen on the road. If an artist wanted fried chicken in the middle of the night, Dorcy would find a way to have fried chicken in front of him in no time.

This began a working relationship with Nelson that lasted for decades, although his heavy-lifting days ended long ago.

Dorcy also logged time with Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, The Highwaymen (naturally), George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., and even Frank Sinatra.

Towards the end of his life Dorcy only worked with Willie on the Texas dates of his tours, and filled the rest of his time with Texas country acts like Kevin Fowler, Randy Rogers Band, Cody Canada, Cory Morrow, and Wade Bowen, just to name a few. He also made an appearance at Chris Stapleton’s Woodlands show in the summer of 2016.

According to his Legacy.com obituary there were two songs written about Dorcy, Waylon Jennings’ “Ode to Ben Dorcy,” and Red Sovine’s “Big Ben Dorcy the Third.”

Dorcy didn’t have any surviving family or any children so he never had someone to tell him get off the road or to retire to a rocking chair.

In 2009 he was the first official inductee into the Roadie Hall of Fame.

One Response to “Ben Dorcy, the first roadie, you will be missed”

  1. Anonymous says:

    RIP Mr. Dorcy 🙁

Leave a Reply