By Valerie J. Nelson
7:36 PM PST, January 20, 2009
Ballard, whose health deteriorated after he had a stroke in 2006, died Dec. 23 at his home in Denton, Texas, said Jacqueline Martinez, a friend.
Although he often worked with a partner, the Texas native wrote “You’re No Good” alone. The song had already been recorded by R&B singers Dee Dee Warwick and Betty Everett when Ronstadt included it on the "Heart Like a Wheel" album that marked her emergence as a bona fide star.
For the British group Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Ballard wrote “Game of Love” and their version was featured in the 1987 Robin Williams film "Good Morning, Vietnam."
Born May 24, 1931, in El Paso, Ballard graduated from what is now the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor's degree in radio studies.
He served in the Army in Japan as a radio operator, then moved to New York and played piano in nightclubs.
After discovering the harmony duo the Kalin Twins in Washington, D.C., in 1957, Ballard became the brothers' manager and wrote their first single, the cheerful "Jumpin' Jack." Three months later, they recorded their one hit, "When," written by Ballard's friend Paul Evans and Jack Reardon.
Mitch Miller and his orchestra recorded Ballard's "Hey Little Baby" on the B side of "March From the River Kwai." The Ballard tune was used as the theme for the 1958 World's Fair in Belgium.
In 1960, Jimmy Jones reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts with a playful song that Ballard co-wrote called "Good Timin' " that included the lyrics: "Who in the world would've ever known what Columbus could do if Queen Isabella hadn't hocked her jewels in 1492. But she had timin.' "
Writing for the close harmonies of the Hollies, Ballard came up with "I'm Alive" for the British pop group and it became a No. 1 single overseas. He also wrote the nonsensical "Gingerbread" for Frankie Avalon. With others, Ballard wrote Rick Nelson's "There's Not a Minute" and the Zombies' "Gotta Get a Hold of Myself."
In the late 1970s, Ballard moved to Dallas and later settled in Denton, where he became a real estate investor.
Ballard had no immediate survivors.
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