Jim Stafford

James Wayne Stafford (born January 16, 1944) is an American comedian, musician, and singer-songwriter. While prominent in the 1970s for his recordings "Spiders & Snakes", "Swamp Witch", "Under the Scotsman's Kilt", "My Girl Bill", and "Wildwood Weed",[1] Stafford has headlined at his own theater in Branson, Missouri, since 1990.[2] Stafford is self-taught on guitar, fiddle, piano, banjo, organ, and harmonica.

Jim Stafford
Stafford in 1975
Stafford in 1975
Background information
Birth nameJames Wayne Stafford
Born (1944-01-16) January 16, 1944 (age 76)
OriginWinter Haven, Florida, United States
GenresCountry, pop
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, comedian, musician
Years active1974–present

Early yearsEdit

Stafford was raised in Winter Haven, Florida. In high school, he played in a band called the Legends, along with friends Bobby Braddock, Kent LaVoie (also known as Lobo) and Gram Parsons (of the Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers).[3]

Recording historyEdit

Stafford's first chart hit was "Swamp Witch", produced by Lobo,[4] which cracked the U.S. top 40 in July 1973. On March 2, 1974, his biggest hit, "Spiders & Snakes", peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over two million copies, earning a gold disc by the RIAA that month.[4] Stafford continued to have moderate chart success through most of 1975.

Television workEdit

Stafford's first televised appearance was in 1974 on a show called Rock Concert that aired in the United Kingdom.

The Jim Stafford Show was a six-week summer variety series shown on ABC from July 30, 1975 (1975-07-30) to September 3, 1975 (1975-09-03). It featured Valerie Curtin, Richard Stahl, Deborah Allen, Cyndi Wood, and Gallagher, and was co-produced by Tony Scotti. Stafford, Rod Warren, April Kelly, and Pat Proft were among the writers on the series.

In 1976, Stafford guest-starred in two episodes of Gemini Man, which were later combined into a TV movie titled Riding with Death. He also guest-starred in the episode "The Understudy" on The Love Boat.

Stafford appeared numerous times on music specials, variety shows, and talk shows. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. He co-hosted Those Amazing Animals with Burgess Meredith and Priscilla Presley from 1980 to 1981, and also hosted 56 episodes of Nashville on the Road.

Stafford was credited with being the supervising writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour revival show, which aired on CBS in 1988.[5]


Stafford contributed to several movie soundtracks. He received a gold record for his work on the Disney movie, The Fox and the Hound. He wrote "Cow Patti" for the Clint Eastwood movie Any Which Way You Can and appeared in the movie. His work has been covered by George Jones and Jerry Reed. His second classical guitar album, Somewhere in Time, appeared in March 2002. His most recent comedy album was Don't Tell Mama I'm a Guitar Picker, She Thinks I'm Just in Jail. In 2010, he produced and recorded his first Christmas album, A Guitar for Christmas.

Live performancesEdit

Stafford has operated and performed at the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson, Missouri, since 1990.[2] His children, Sheaffer and GG, accompany him on stage. Stafford also currently tours during the winters. As of 2019 Jim is performing Thursday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm at The Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson.[6]

Sexual harassment allegationEdit

During the wrap party for a late-'80s variety special held at Stafford's home, the entertainer allegedly sexually assaulted one of his writers, Nell Scovell, by compelling her to perform oral sex. Scovell then lost her job as the show went into a second season.

Scovell made the accusation in her memoir and a 2019 Vanity Fair article.[7][8] Stafford was asked to speak to the allegation in March 2018, but did not respond.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

In the late 1970s, Stafford was married briefly to singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry,[3] and they have a son, Tyler Gentry Stafford.[9] Stafford was also married to Ann Britt Stafford for 24 years. She co-owned the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson until December 2013.




Year Album Peak chart positions Label
US US Country AUS[10] CAN
1974 Jim Stafford 55 6 27 48 MGM
1975 Not Just Another Pretty Foot
1993 New Deal Strats Publishing


Year Single Peak chart positions R.I.A.A.[4] Album
US US Country CAN AUS[10] CAN Country CAN AC UK
1973 "Swamp Witch" 39 46 21 Jim Stafford
"Spiders & Snakes" 3 66 1 19 9 14 Gold
1974 "My Girl Bill" 12 64 7 12 16 18 20
"Wildwood Weed" 7 57 3 2
1975 "Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne" 24 46 Not Just Another Pretty Foot
"I Got Stoned and I Missed It" 37 78
1976 "Jasper" 69 singles only
1977 "Turn Loose of My Leg" 98
1978 "One Step Ahead of the Law"
1980 "Don't Fool Around"
1981 "Cow Patti" 102 65 31
"Isabel and Samantha"
1982 "What Mama Don't Know" 61
1984 "Little Bits and Pieces" 67


  1. ^ "Jim Stafford and the "Wildwood Weed"". Chimesfreedom. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Jim Stafford Theatre | Jim Stafford and Parrotville | Come see the best entertainment shows in Branson, Missouri!". Jimstaffordtickets.com. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1127. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 336. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ "Jim Stafford". IMDb.com. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. ^ "SHOW SCHEDULE | Jim Stafford Theatre | Jim Stafford and Parrotville". Jimstaffordtickets.com. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Scovell, Nell (March 20, 2018). Just the funny parts : ... and a few hard truths about sneaking into the Hollywood boys' club (First ed.). New York. ISBN 9780062473486. OCLC 968158911.
  8. ^ a b Scovell, Nell. "Ten Years Ago, I Called Out David Letterman. This Month, We Sat Down to Talk". VanityFair.com. Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  9. ^ Weisbard, Eric. Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music. New York: 2007, Duke University Press Books, ISBN 978-0822340416
  10. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 290. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.


External linksEdit