10/19/23-Dwight Twilley died

todayOctober 19, 2023



Hear Dwight Twilley on “The Lost 45s” on our Interviews Page!



By Bruce Haring

Dwight Twilley, the singer/songwriter who helped bring the Tulsa Sound to a wider audience, has died at 72. No cause or other details have been revealed.

Twilley was best known for the Top 20 hit singles I’m on Fire (1975) and Girls (1984). He performed with the Dwight Twilley Band with Phil Seymour until 1978, when he went off as a solo act.

Twilley and Seymour eventually decided to leave Tulsa to try to be discovered in Memphis, Tennessee. By sheer chance, the first recording studio that they wandered into was Sun Studio, where they met Jerry Phillips, son of Sun founder Sam Phillips

He referred them to the Tupelo, Mississippi studio of Ray Harris, who added a harder edge to their sound.

The two then headed to Los Angeles and signed there with Shelter Records, which had offices in L.A. and Tulsa, coowned by Denny Cordell and Leon Russell. They used the historic The Church Studio in Tulsa to record many of their songs, including “I’m on Fire” in one night. That reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Business problems at Shelter between the coowners caused a delay in the release of the group’s album, costing them momentum that resulted in the album going nowhere when it was finally released.

Twilley bounced through several labels during his career, gaining respect from his peers but failing to ignite that to larger success.

A “Best of” collection was released this spring, covering six original albums: “Tulsa,The Luck, 47 Moons, Green Blimp, Soundtrack and Always.

He is survived by his wife, Jan.

Written by: Barry Scott