Billy Dean, born April 2, 1962, received a basketball scholarship to attend East Central Junior College in Decatur, Miss., where he majored in physical education. However, he played the club circuit along Florida's Gulf Coast and used national talent contests as a vehicle for his music. He made the finals of the Wrangler Country Star Search in 1982 and then won as a male vocalist champ on Ed McMahon's Star Search in 1988. Dean shot like a comet from a childhood marked by poverty and struggle in Florida to the height of celebrity. But as spotlights trained on his 6'4" frame, the young star saw only a kind of fog as he looked back from the stage. "I was having a great career," he remembers. "For four or five years everything I did went into the Top Five but it went against everything I was about. I was a simple country person and a new dad. I had no idea how to put it into perspective."
Now, this Grammy winner and rangy, handsome singer charted so quickly and so often that he released a Greatest Hits collection as his fourth album. Some of those hits include "Only Here for a Little While," the Grammy-nominated "Somewhere in My Broken Heart," "Billy the Kid," "If There Hadn't Been You," and "We Just Disagree." Three of his albums were certified gold, and his self-titled 1991 effort earned platinum status.
In the midst of his early recording career, Dean also dabbled in television. He contributed to commercials for Valvoline, McDonald's and Chevrolet, landed a role in the brief Elvis series on ABC-TV in 1990 and appeared in parts on soap operas and dramas, including Lois & Clark.
After a long absence, he released the album Let Them Be Little in 2005, with the title track reaching the Top 10. And in 2009, The One Behind The Wheel was released featuring "You Don't Count The Cost" and "This Is The Day."
The One Behind The Wheel