Franklin Delano “Del” Reeves was born in Sparta, the youngest of 11 children. He learned to play guitar borrowing one of his brother’s instruments, and he was performing on radio by the time he was 12 years old. While serving in the Air Force, Reeves was stationed in Sacramento, where he performed on The Chester Smith Show. He moved to Nashville in 1961 to begin recording for Decca, and he had his first chart single the same year with “Be Quiet Mind.”
Reeves and his wife wrote a lot of his material, which others recorded including Carl Smith, Rose Maddox, Roy Drusky, and Sheb Wooley. In the mid-1960s, Reeves had several hits, including “Girl on the Billboard,” “The Belles of Southern Bell,” and “Women Do Funny Things to Me.” In 1966, Reeves joined the Grand Ole Opry, and he had several more hits in the late 1960s, including “Looking at the World through a Windshield,” “Be Glad,” and “Good Time Charlie’s.”
In the 1970s, Reeves released several duets with Bobby Goldsboro and Penny DeHaven, and he hosted a syndicated television program called Del Reeves’ Country Carnival. His last top-ten hit, “The Philadelphia Fillies,” came in 1971, though he continued to record into the 1980s. In 1979, he began to focus his career on the executive side of the music industry, helping sign Billy Ray Cyrus to a recording contract. He performed on the Grand Ole Opry through 2002.