An Unsung Texas Music Legend: Ben Dorcy, the First Roadie

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Tony Maples Photography


Do you ever wonder about the people behind famous people? Those who make things happen through hard work, friendship, and longevity are mainstays in all scenes, and the music world had Ben Dorcy. Considered to be the first ‘roadie,’ this man had amazing stories and more than a few celebrated associates including Loretta Lynn, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Hank Thompson. Ben passed away on September 16, 2017, at the age of 92 with more than a few miles under his belt.

An Unsung Texas Music Legend: Ben Dorcy, the First Roadie

Facebook/Karl Kuenning

Ben Holliday Dorcy III, also known as Lovey, was born in 1925 and grew up in San Antonio. When he was 15 years old, he joined the Ice Capades. Then at 18, he joined the Navy. After his service ended and freshly fitted with a cranial metal plate from a sea attack, he began working for musicians. While doing so, he met and befriended Willie Nelson around 1953, who was playing in Ray Price’s band at John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes. After a stint in California working for Nudie Cohn and John Wayne, Ben moved to Nashville in order to reconnect with his musical roots. After meeting again with Willie Nelson, Lovey was brought along when the career of the Red Headed Stranger began to take off.

An Unsung Texas Music Legend: Ben Dorcy, the First Roadie

Facebook/Ben Dorcy III

Although recognizable by his white beard, ever-present pipe and long hair, Lovey was the master of the background. Famed for getting things done, including some tasks which were considered impossible, his skills were invaluable to musicians young and less young. In fact, two songs were written about him: “Ode to Ben Dorcy” and “Big Ben Dorcy the Third”. Recently, a documentary called King of the Roadies was made about him. Ben Dorcy Day is celebrated on February 22, the day Ben met Willie Nelson. Celebrate the legacy of roadies by making it a day of friends and good music!