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Posts Tagged ‘Garth Brooks’

RIP, Don Williams (September 8, 2017) Country Music Legend

Posted by themusicsover on September 8, 2017

Don Williams
May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. He was 78.

A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning the songs that he heard on the radio during that period. He and his friends played in local bands around the area.

In 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. The next year would see Williams ink a recording deal with Clement’s JMI Records. He made his chart debut with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973, and was soon hitting the charts time and again with a much more laid-back sound than a lot of the music coming out of Nashville at the time. 1974 would see Williams top the charts for the first time with “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” From that point all the way through 1991, each Williams single would hit the Top-40 on the Billboard Country charts. His 1970s hits included such chart toppers as “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” and “It Must Be Love.” His career grew steadily through label shifts to ABC/Dot, MCA, Capitol, and finally RCA. Williams also gained a devoted following overseas in such unlikely spots as England, Ireland, and New Zealand , and even South Africa and Kenya – where he reached superstar status. He was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978.

The 1980s saw no slow-down in Williams’ recorded output, with the singer notching his biggest hit with 1981’s “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the Country charts, but crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. By this time, he had earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” for his trademark mellow sound, and the hits continued to pile up throughout the rest of the decade – “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” being three of his biggest of the 1980s. His final top ten came in 1991, with “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy,” a song that Josh Turner – a Williams fan – would record in 2006.

Though the changing of the guard at radio slowed down Williams’ chart success, he continued to perform for sold-out crowds in America and abroad, playing a final tour in 2006. However, retirement was not in the cards for the singer, who returned to the road in 2010 – the same year that he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams’ return to the spotlight also included a pair of albums on Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, which included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. It was a sign of his enduring appeal that both albums hit the Top-20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts – his biggest rank there in three decades.

In 2016, Williams decided that the time was right for his final performance, calling it a career after one of the most successful careers in the history of the Country Music business. “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support,” the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time. Last year also saw the final release of Williams’ career, a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. In 2017, the singer was the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. [Source: Webster Public Relations]

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Died On This Date (July 9, 2013) Jim Foglesong / Legendary Record Label Executive

Posted by themusicsover on July 9, 2013

Jim Foglesong
July 26, 1922 – July 9, 2013

jim-foglesongJim Foglesong was a longtime record company executive who, for the better part of 50 years, helped countless country music performers become household names.  A singer himself, Foglesong began singing in church before he turned four years old, and by the time he was in high school, he was singing on local radio stations throughout Charleston, West Virginia.  During WWII, Foglesong performed at USO shows while serving in the Army.  After his service ended, he enrolled in college where he studied music.  After graduating and moving to New York City, he found himself working as a session singer on recordings by the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Connie Francis, Neil Sedaka, and Dion & the Belmonts.  During the early ’50s, Foglesong worked at Columbia Records where he helped start Epic Records.  While there, he began producing records. He eventually moved to RCA where he produced records by the likes of Robert Goulet and Doris Day.  By the late ’70s, he was working in Nashville where the list of artists he went on to work with reads like an encyclopedia of country music.  During that time he also found himself running labels like Dot and MCA Records.  In 1984, he was named president of Capitol Records’ Nashville division where he signed Garth Brooks.   Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Reba McEntire, and George Strait are just a few of the country stars whose recording careers he helped guide. After retiring from the record business in the early ’90s, Foglesong went into education.  He served as the music business department head at Trevecca Nazarene College and taught a music business class at Vanderbilt University, both in Nashville.  In 2004, he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Jim Foglesong was 90 when he passed away on July 9, 2013.

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Died On This Date (April 16, 2013) Rita MacNeil / Canadian Country & Folk Great

Posted by themusicsover on April 16, 2013

Rita MacNeil
May 28, 1944 – April 16, 2013

Rita-MacNeilRita MacNeil was a popular Canadian folk and country singer who had the honor of outselling both Garth Brooks and Clint Black in Canada during 1990, at the height of their careers.  Born and raised on the eastern tip of Nova Scotia, the incredibly shy MacNeil was 27 when she first performed on stage – relatively late by pop music standards.  The year was 1971, and within just a few years, she recorded her first album and was becoming a popular draw along the Canadian folk festival circuit. Based on her growing popularity and work on behalf of women’s rights, MacNeil was secretly spied upon by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service on the unwarranted suspicion that she had communist ties.   Her first single of note was 1986’s “Flying On Your Own” which reached #42 on the Canadian charts and was covered by Anne Murray the following year.  MacNeil went on to have numerous hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s, both in Canada and the UK.  In all, she released 24 albums which sold in the millions.  During the mid ’90s, MacNeil hosted her own CBC variety show, Rita And Friends.  Over the course of her career, she was recognized with a Juno, five honorary doctorates, and was a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia.  On April 16,  2013, Rita MacNeil died unexpectedly from complications of a surgery.  She was 68.


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Died On This Date (November 5, 2011) Patsi Bale Cox / Music Journalist

Posted by themusicsover on November 5, 2011

Patsi Bale Cox
DOB Unknown – November 5, 2011

Patsy Bale Cox was a Nashville music journalist and author who penned the popular book, The Garth Factor: The Career Behind Country’s Big Boom, that examined the success of country icon, Garth Brooks.  Born in Kansas, Cox settled in Nashville in 1983 and started out doing freelance work while editing bios and such for Capitol and Polygram Records.  She eventually became a popular writer of autobiographies in the “as told to” role.  Her two such books with Ralph Emery were best sellers.  Over the course of her career, Cox wrote books about such music greats as Pat Benatar, Tanya Tucker, Wynonna Judd, Tony Orlando, and Loretta Lynn.  As reported by CMT, Patsi Bale Cox died of emphysema on November 5, 2011.  She was 66.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.

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Died On This Date (September 25, 2012) Paul Kirby / Walk The West; Cactus Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on September 25, 2011

Paul Kirby
DOB Unknown – September 25, 2011

Paul Kirby was a Nashville singer-songwriter who fronted the popular roots rock band, Walk The West and later, Cactus Brothers.  Decades before anyone thought up the name, “Americana” as a music genre, Kirby was marrying rock ‘n roll with rough-and-tumble country music.  Formed with his brother, Will Kirby and schoolmate John Goleman in 1984, Walk The West quickly built a sizable local following thanks to their blistering live shows and growing arsenal of original songs.  They were quickly snapped up by Capitol Records just as major labels were trying to find their own contributions to the “cow punk” scene that was suddenly in vogue.  The band had a couple of minor hits thanks in part to video play on MTV and opening slots for the likes of the Smithereens and the Ramones.  Walk The West never released a follow-up for Capitol and disbanded within the next few years.  During the early ’90s, Kirby resurfaced with the more adventurous Cactus Brothers  who were definitely more “alt” than “country,” but nonetheless found a home on Liberty Records who was currently riding the high of Garth Brooks.  The band released two albums and appeared in the film Pure Country before again being dropped by their label.  Kirby and Walk The West reunited for a special event in Nashville in 2008, and then again just weeks before his untimely death.  According to the Nashville Scene, Paul Kirby died of cardiac arrest on September 25, 2011.  He was 48.  Fellow Cactus Brother David Schnaufer died in 2006.

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