Singer/songwriter Leroy Van Dyke was best known for penning the country novelty standard "The Auctioneer" and the country-pop smash "Walk on By," his biggest hit. Born in Missouri, Van Dyke originally wanted to be a farmer. He earned a degree in agriculture and journalism at the University of Missouri, where he first began playing guitar. His uncle had been an auctioneer, and Van Dyke himself studied livestock auctioneering and worked as an auctioneer for a time. Following graduation, Van Dyke worked as a newspaper reporter. Sent to Korea during the Korean War, he began performing for his peers and wrote "The Auctioneer," which recalled Van Dyke's uncle and was dedicated to his cousin. The song contains passages of actual auction calls.