James Wayne "Jim" Stafford (born January 16, 1944, Eloise, Florida) is an American comedian, musician, and singer-songwriter. While prominent in the 1970s for his records "Swamp Witch", "Under The Scotsman's Kilt", "Spiders & Snakes", "My Girl Bill", and "Wildwood Weed", Stafford has headlined at his own theater in Branson, Missouri since 1990. Stafford is self-taught on guitar, fiddle, piano, banjo, organ and harmonica.
Stafford was raised in Winter Haven, Florida. In high school, he played in a band along with friends Bobby Braddock, Kent LaVoie (also known as Lobo) and Gram Parsons (of the Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers).
Stafford's first chart hit was "Swamp Witch", produced by Lobo, which cracked the U.S. Top 40 in July 1973. By early 1974 he had charted his biggest hit, "Spiders & Snakes", which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 that March. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1974. Stafford continued to have moderate chart success through most of 1975.
Although Stafford's first televised appearance wasn't until 1974 on a show called Rock Concert that aired in the United Kingdom, many remember him from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 'Revival Show which first aired on March 30, 1988 and ran for 1-season (1988-1989) and for which he was credited with being the supervising writer.
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.
Stafford appeared as well 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.
In 1976, Stafford guest starred in two episodes of the TV show Gemini Man, which were later combined into a television movie titled "Riding with Death".
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". Stafford has written original songs for all of his albums.
Stafford has operated and performed at the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson, Missouri since 1990. His children, Sheaffer and GG, accompany him on stage. Stafford also currently tours during the winter months.
Stafford hosted, co-wrote, and produced a nationally syndicated radio show, "Branson USA". He also wrote and produced the short-film "Neighbors" that is in the opening segment of the Branson IMAX
In the late 1970s, Stafford was married briefly to singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry and they have a son, Tyler. Stafford was also married to Ann Britt Stafford for 24 years and co-owned the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson, Missouri until December 2013. Stafford now resides in Florida.