By E.I. Hillin
Phoenix Staff Writer
He has been called the first rocker in Oklahoma. Others say he was the best at rockabilly. His family knew him as a caring, kindhearted father and businessman.
Local musician Clyde Stacy, 77, died Wednesday evening in a car crash on U.S. 69.
Stacy was born on August 11, 1936, on a farm near Checotah. He attended school with Waylon Jennings. He moved to Lubbock, Texas, in his early teens, where he met Buddy Holly.
Stacy relocated to Tulsa in his late teens, where he played with other emerging artists, creating what would come to be known as the “Tulsa Sound.”
Stacy formed a group in Tulsa, The Nitecaps, in 1954 with guitarist John D. LeVan, drummer Bill Torbort, and stand up bass player Rick Eilerts. Stacy played rhythm guitar and sang.
“We were playing the sound of the time, rockabilly,” LeVan said.
In 1957 Stacy and the Nitecaps were signed by Candlelight Records in New York. Stacy recorded his single “Hoy Hoy” at Oral Roberts University. In 1958 the single broke into the Billboard Hot 100.
“Some stations banned the record, which boosted the sales,” LeVan said.
Stacy next appeared on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”
Stacy recorded with the label Bullseye in New York and would go on to record for Regency, Argyle, and Bear Family Records.
His rockabilly sound won him fans in the United States as well as Canada and Europe.
When Stacy got married and had children, his life took a different path.
“He chose family during the peak of his success,” said Lori Stacy Dickmann, Clyde’s daughter. “His hobbies included being involved with his kids, sporting events and music.”
Mark Stacy, Clyde’s son, said family was important to his father.
“Kids were more important than music,” Mark Stacy said.
Clyde Stacy started a fence company and a construction company later in life.
“In his last few years, he had a rebirth,” said Mark Stacy.
As a result of the popularity of rockabilly music emerging again in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Stacy was invited to play a show in Las Vegas in 2011.
After that show, Stacy and fellow bandmate LeVan were invited to play at Hemsby 46 Rockabilly Festival in England.
“My whole interpretation of Clyde is one of the sweetest disposition, very sweet, very kindhearted and a gentle man, that’s the only way I know how to describe my friend,” LeVan said. “Clyde — of all the people I’ve ever worked with — was the nicest person I have ever met and a very good singer and a class act. He was a country boy, he had that country class.
“We loved that rockabilly music, still do.”
Stacy always made his way back to his Oklahoma roots, his family said.
“He was proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,” said Allyson Dickmann, Clyde’s granddaughter.
Stacy leaves behind three children, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Muskogee. Following the service the burial will take place at Green Lawn Cemetery.
“We would be honored if anyone would like to come celebrate his life,” said Dickmann.
Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funeral services for Clyde Stacy will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Muskogee. Following the service the burial will take place at Green Lawn Cemetery.