Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


 Hoyt Axton (1938-1999) was a singer-songwriter and a television and film actor.  His mother, Mae Boran Axton, co-wrote Elvis Presley's hit song "Heartbreak Hotel."  Many of the songs Axton himself wrote were hits for others artists:  "Joy to the World" and ""Never Been to Span" for Three Dog Night, "Greenback Dollar" for The Kingston Trio, "The Pusher" and "Snowblind Friend" for Steppenwolf, "No No Song" for Ringo Starr, among them.   

Axton spent his pre-teen years in Oklahoma.  His family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1949 and Axton graduated from high school there.  He left town on the night of his graduation when a local hardware store burned down, the result of a graduation prank.  Axton married four times.  He struggles much of his life with cocaine addiction and he and his wife were arrested for marijuana possession in 1997.  (The marijuana, his wife claimed, was to relieve pain from a 1995 stroke which left him in a wheelchair much of the time.)  He died at age 61 shortly after suffering two heart attacks.

On television, he appeared on such shows as Bonanza, I Dream of Jeanie, McCloud, Dukes of Hazzard, and Growing Pains.  He appeared in at least 23 films, including The Black stallion, Heart Like a Wheel, and We're No Angels, but I best remember him as Randall Peltzer in 1984's Gremlins.  Axton's strong voice and pulsating guitar worked well with folk, country, and standards.  Axton also appeared in commercials. including those for McDonald's, Busch beer, Pizza Hut, and FTD Florists.  In 2007 Axton and his mother were both posthumously entered into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.  


"Greenback Dollar"

"Yellow Rose of Texas" (with John Hartford and others)

"Joy to the World"

"When the Morning Comes"

"Dead and Gone" (with Pernell Roberts, from Bonanza)

"A Rusty Old Halo"

"I Dream of Highways"

"You're the Hangnail in My Life"

"Poncho and Lefty"

"Della and the Dealer"

"Bony Fingers"

"Five Hundred Miles"

"Geronimo's Cadillac"

"Mountain Right"

"The Midnight Special"

"Lion in Winter" (with Linda Ronstadt)


  1. Replies
    1. And the same to you, Petti! Your friendship is one of the many things I am thankful for.

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  3. Belated holiday greetings (we lost internet in our house on Thu and Fri).

    My favorite Axton dramatic and musical performance might still be in an episode of WKRP IN CINCINNATI.


    1. it was a good'un, Todd.