Billy Deaton is one of the leading booking agents and theatrical managers in Nashville. The recipient of an AIRA (Academy of Independent Recording Artists) Award as Booking Agent of the Decade, Deaton played an essential role in the success of late country singer Faron Young, with whom he worked for more than a quarter of a century. The son of sharecroppers who raised corn and cotton, Deaton was born in the outskirts of Ruleville, MS. Together with his parents, brothers, and sisters, he worked in the fields until securing a job as a janitor and projector operator for the Delta Theater in Ruleville, at the age of 15. Despite working long hours, he served as president of the class of 1953 at Ruleville High School. Deaton's involvement with music began while serving in the U.S. Air Force. After spending time at the Lockland Air Force base in San Antonio, TX, he was transferred to a base in Iceland. The move turned out to be the turning point in his life. In addition to becoming a disc jockey for the Armed Forces Radio Network, he formed a band to play at military clubs. The experience proved invaluable. After being discharged from the Air Force, Deaton remained active in radio, selling ads and hosting a show for KMAC. Returning to San Antonio in 1959, Deaton was introduced to country music by vocalist Charlie Walker, who later became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After recording several regional hits for the San Antonio-based TNT label, Deaton became the first country artist signed by Chicago-based Smash Records. Launching a career as a booking agent, Deaton found financial success by securing appearances for numerous local bands. Moving to Nashville in 1969 to serve as manager for Faron Young, he worked with the country artist until Young's death in 1996. Deaton has continued to serve as president of the Billy Deaton Talent Agency.
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