Tin Pan Alley Tunesmith
Known for "Wagon Wheels" and Western songs
William Joseph Hill was born in Boston Massachusetts on July 14, 1899. He studied the violin at the New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Carl Muck and attended Boston Public schools. At 17, he traveled to the west coast where he worked several jobs including as a surveyor in Death Valley and a violinist and pianist in dance halls until forming his own jazz band in Salt Lake City. Moving to New York City in 1930, Hill continued to try success in music while working another series of odd jobs. In 1933, his first hit arrived with a song called “The Last Roundup”.
“The Last Roundup”, (words & music by Hill) was introduced by Joe Morrison on the stage of the Paramount Theater and made the 1933 Hit Parade. From that point on, Billy Hill was one of the most successful writers on Tin Pan Alley.
Collaborating with an array of songwriters including Peter De Rose, Dedette Hill (his wife), Victor Young, William Raskin, Edward Eliscu and J. Keirn Brennan, Billy Hill produced such hit standards as “They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree”, “Have you ever Been Lonely”, “Wagon Wheels”, “Empty Saddles”, “In the Chapel in the Moonlight”, “The Call of the Canyon”, “On a Little Street in Singapore”, “The Old Man of the Mountain”, “The Old Spinning Wheel”, “Lights Out”, “There’s a Cabin in the Pines”, “Put on an Old Pair of Shoes”, “Lights Out” and “The Glory of Love”.
Billy Hill died in Boston on December 24, 1940.