Accomplished country singer and music industry executive Ray Pillow has died. He was 85 years old.

Born on July 4, 1937, the Virginia native and U.S. Navy veteran released his first album, Presenting Ray Pillow, in 1965. A year later, his career skyrocketed with the release of I'll Take the Dog, a duet album with country pioneer Jean Shepard. The title track from that album became Pillow's most successful track on country radio, climbing to No. 9 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart. 

Over the course of his career, Pillow charted 18 singles and released 12 albums, with his most recent being 2017's Ray Pillow Live. He appeared on many of the popular country music-themed variety shows of the 1960s and 70s, including The Porter Wagoner Show and The Wilburn Brothers Show.

During the 1980s, Pillow shifted his career focus to working within the industry, co-founding Sycamore Records before becoming an A&R executive for Capitol Records in the 1990s. The multi-talented musician was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1966 and performed regularly until he formally retired in 2018. 

According to his public obituary, Pillow died in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday, March 26, and is survived by his wife of 66 years, Joanne, his daughter, Selena, his son, Daryl Ray, and his daughter-in-law, Julie. 

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