Joe Dowell, had No. 1 hit with ‘Wooden Heart,” dies at 76

By on February 5, 2016

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NEW YORK—Joe Dowell, a singer briefly popular in the early 1960s who had a No. 1 hit with the ballad “Wooden Heart,” has died. He was 76.

Dowell died Thursday at a hospital in his longtime hometown of Bloomington, Illinois. His publicist and friend Johnny Vallis tells The Associated Press that Dowell suffered a heart attack last weekend and never recovered.

“Wooden Heart” already had been a hit for Elvis Presley in Europe when Dowell’s version was released. With its bouncy tempo and echoed vocal track, the song topped the Billboard chart in early September 1961. Dowell’s other songs included “The Bridge of Love” and “Little Red Rented Rowboat.” In subsequent years he recorded commercial voiceovers and gospel songs.

He is survived by a sister and two daughters.