He ripped off a fellow songwriter, Eddie McDuff, who took an idea from Mr. Winkler and John Hathcock (who had purloined lines from the BIBLE), and put together a song, writing the compelling melody. But Eddie never received any credit — or money. Instead, Ray put his and John’s name on it and pitched it to Jim Reeves, who recorded it. The song became such a massive hit it made Ray a fortune -- and he bragged it bought him a new home.
Fortunately for him, the TRUE songwriter, Eddie McDuff, was killed at the age of 32 in the crash of a commercial airliner in May 1968 as he was hurrying home to his wife and children, and was thus not able to take his case to court. Oddly, he died at 4:52 p.m. in the afternoon — the exact time down to the minute when Jim’s plane was lost on radar.
I interviewed Eddie's widow, Glenda, for my book, and she confirmed the story I had heard from other songwriters who were appalled at Winkler's actions.
At the time I interviewed her. Mrs. McDuff -- who had been widowed with FOUR young children when her husband was killed -- was literally scrubbing toilets, as she had done for years, as a hotel maid. She did not receive a cent from Winkler. She even recounted the story of how she and her husband had driven out of town to confront Mr. Winkler who, instead of offering any money, just claimed he would cut Eddie in on any future songs he pitched to Jim. Of course, Reeves died.
Until he went to his grave, Ray Winkler shamelessly took credit for writing "Welcome To My World" and it has been recorded by at least 100 artists over the years and used in commercials, especially in the EU, such that the royalties must be massive. The heirs of Mr. Winkler know the truth, and so does the Texas Country Hall of Fame in Carthage, but the latter still inducted Winkler into their museum anyway. It is a DISGRACE.
I'm happy I am in a position as the author of a successful book that has sold many thousands of copies and circulated worldwide so I am able to tell everybody the truth about the ripoff by Ray Winkler of Eddie McDuff, regarding one of Jim Reeves' most iconic songs. May God rest Eddie’s soul.
TO RETURN TO THE JIM REEVES WAY, CLICK ON JIM'S NAME AT TOP OF PAGE