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“My wife and I decided that we would go as far as the car would take us,” Dees told the newspaper. “If it broke down before we got there, we would save money and move further on later.”

They made it to Nashville, where the car soon broke down _ and Dees said he had to use his overcoat as payment to get the car towed to a mechanic, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

Dees didn’t initially seek out Orbison after moving to Nashville because he wanted to establish himself without help, according to a biography on Dees‘ website. But the pair reconnected, and with Orbison, Dees crossed Europe and twice went to England.

“I was shocked when we got off the plane in London, and there was like 10,000 people there at the airport meeting the plane,” Dees told NPR. “It was like The Beatles when they came over here.”

They appeared with The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and played on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Dees continued to write songs and perform, and released his first solo album in 2002, “Saturday Night at the Movies,” which includes songs he wrote with Orbison.

As a child, Dees lived with his family in Borger, Texas, where his father worked as a sand and gravel supplier, where Dees went on to work. Dees recalled listening to barrelhouse piano music at house parties and getting bit by the music bug, according to his biography.

Dees said many times that he and Orbison were life-long friends. Orbison died in 1988.

Dees is survived by his wife, Nancy Decker-Dees of Kissee Mills, Mo.; four children and two step-children, a brother and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to the funeral home’s obituary.

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Online: http://www.billdees.com