Native Arkansan Wayland Holyfield ’64 grew up in Little Rock, attended Hendrix and graduated from the University of Arkansas. Holyfield played in a band called The Rebels throughout college. After college, he performed in a group known as The General Store. He married the former Nancy Selig of Conway and together they moved to Nashville for him to pursue a career in songwriting in 1972.
In Nashville, Holyfield became an award-winning songwriter whose works have been recorded and performed all over the world. His songs include Could I Have This Dance, Till The Rivers All Run Dry, Some Broken Hearts Never Mend, You’re My Best Friend, You’re The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had, Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer, She Never Knew Me, Put Your Dreams Away, Your Love Shines Through, You’re Going Out of My Mind, Stop the Rain, Down in Tennessee, When You Get to the Heart, Wish I Had A Heart of Stone, She Reminded Me of You, Don’t Count The Rainy Days, The Blues in Black and White, Only Here For a Little While and Meanwhile. Holyfield also wrote Arkansas You Run Deep In Me, the official State Song of Arkansas.
In 1992, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He also has been honored as ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year, two-time winner of the Music City News Top Country Hits Award, a Grammy Nominee and CMA Triple Play Award. He has received a total of 37 Performance Society awards and has written over 40 top 10 hits and 14 #1 songs. Some of the artists who have recorded Wayland’s songs are George Strait, Peter Townsend, Don Williams, Anne Murray, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Patti Page, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap, Julio Iglesias, Crystal Gayle, Eddie Arnold, Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Charley Pride, Bill Medley, Mac Davis, The Oak Ridge Boys, Michael Martin Murphy, Mickey Gilley, John Anderson, Johnny Russell, The Statler Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Juice Newton, The Judds and George Jones.
He and Nancy have been married 45 years and have three grown children, Greg, Mark and Lee.