Billy Hunt was born in Grove, Oklahoma, in 1935. Hunt graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in music. He played with the Woody Herman Band for seven years and with Harry James for three years before returning to the Woody Herman Band for another five years. He won a Grammy for his outstanding solo in Herman’s arrangement of “Days of Wine and Roses.”
Hunt later played at the Copa Club in New York City and the Dunes in Las Vegas. Upon returning from his musical career tour, he got a master’s degree from Northeastern State University. During that time, he began playing at the Shangri La Resort with the Forrest Watson Orchestra, where he played for approximately 20 years.