Clint Ballard, songwriter and musician, was born Conger C. Ballard, Jr., in El Paso, Texas, on May 24, 1931. Clint Ballard is best remembered as a successful pop songwriter, whose tunes have been heard on ten million recordings in both the United States and Great Britain. Ballard’s most notable songs include “You’re No Good” and “Game of Love.”
Ballard’s mother encouraged him to play music at an early age. When he was just three years old, Ballard performed piano on the radio. At the age of eleven, he attended a program for gifted young musicians at North Texas State Teachers College (present-day University of North Texas) in Denton. He went on to attend the State University of Iowa (present-day University of Iowa) and graduated from what is today the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in radio studies. While in college, Ballard spent much of his time directing fraternity choirs and dance bands.
Upon graduating from college, Ballard joined the United States Army. After serving as a radio operator in Japan, Ballard moved to New York City to pursue a career in music and often played piano in nightclubs. On a trip to Washington, D.C., in 1957, he discovered the harmony duo the Kalin Twins. Impressed by the brothers, Ballard managed the group and secured them a recording contract with Decca. Ballard wrote the Kalin Twins’ first single, “Jumpin’ Jack.” However, it was not until three months later that the twins scored their first hit with “When,” written by Paul Evans and Jack Reardon, not by Ballard. Too devoted to his own songwriting to focus on the Kalin Twins’ career, Ballard went on to write “Ev’ry Hour, Ev’ry Day of My Life” in 1958. It became a hit in the United Kingdom for British balladeer Malcolm Vaughn.
Ballard’s “Hey Little Baby” became the theme song for the 1958 World’s Fair in Belgium after Mitch Miller and his orchestra recorded the single on the B side of “March From the River Kwai.” In 1960 Ballard co-wrote the hit “Good Timin’” with Fred Tobias. Singer Jimmy Jones took the song to the top of the British charts and to Number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Following this success, Ballard wrote “Game of Love,” which was recorded by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders. The song became a Number 1 hit in the United States and a Number 2 hit in Britain in 1965. He scored his first Number 1 hit in Britain with “I’m Alive” for the Hollies in 1965. In 1987 “Game of Love” was featured in the film Good Morning, Vietnam, starring Robin Williams. Although Ballard often wrote with a partner, he penned Linda Ronstadt’s Number 1 single “You’re No Good,” by himself. The song was featured on Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel album, released in 1974. “You’re No Good” had previously been recorded by Dee Dee Warwick and Betty Everett in 1963. The song also was covered by the Swinging Blue Jeans in 1964 and became a Top 10 hit in Britain. “You’re No Good” was featured in the movie My Best Friend’s Girl in 2008. Other songs written by Ballard include “Gingerbread” by Frankie Avalon, “There’s Not a Minute” by Ricky Nelson, and “Gotta Get a Hold of Myself” by the Zombies.
Ballard settled in Dallas in 1981 and then moved thirty-five miles north to Denton three years later. He eventually left the music business and became a real estate investor and manager. In 2006 Ballard suffered a stroke, and his health deteriorated in the years that followed. On December 23, 2008, Clint Ballard died at his home in Denton at the age seventy-seven. He is in the Honor Roll of Songwriters in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame.