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Articles > Bill Pickering

Billy Duane “Bill” Pickering was born April 5, 1927 near Murchison in east Texas. He was the first son of John M. and Ida Elizabeth “Beth” Pickering. He had one sibling, John Winton, born 6 years later.


The Pickering family moved about the southwest USA and performed on radio and stage throughout Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. There were daily radio shows on many stations over the years.


Born to a musical family, Bill sang professionally from age 5, beginning in Tyler, Texas. He grew up in east Texas, Tyler, Beaumont, and Lubbock, but spent most of his teen years at Clovis, New Mexico, where the Pickering Family Quartet (“The Picks”) were popular and successful.


Bill attended Junior High and High School at Clovis, New Mexico, where he became friends with Norman Petty and his future wife, Violet Ann Brady.


He served in the US Navy during part of World War II (1944-1946) and was honorably discharged at age 19.


Bill was an accomplished vocalist and guitarist. He was also an excellent deejay in Lubbock, Kermit, and Midland-Odessa, Texas, as well as Clovis, New Mexico.


Founder of “The Picks”, Buddy Holly’s main backup group of 1957 Crickets’ fame, Bill was a world-famous high tenor.


Bill Pickering sang professionally with the Pickering Family Quartet, The Plainsmen Quartet, Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and on Columbia Records with The Picks. Bill then sang as Billy Duane of Guyden Records, but continued as Bill Pickering with The Pickering Brothers of Stop Records, Nashville, Tennessee, as well as Daffan Records and Stoneway Records of Houston, Texas, and with Buddy Holly & The Picks.


Bill and his first wife Hazel were the parents of sons: the late Monte Duane Pickering Moore and Michael O’Neal Pickering Moore of  Indian Wells, CA. In 1973, he adopted the three sons of his second wife Carolyn: Robert Charles, John Thomas, and James Craig Pickering. He married his 3rd wife Grace of Lubbock in the early 1980's.


Please Note: Bill Pickering died a few months after the Houston Holly/Picks sessions on January 25, 1985 and is buried in the family plot at Red Hill Cemetery, near Murchison, Texas.