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Posts Tagged ‘Merle Haggard’

Died On This Date (April 6, 2016) Merle Haggard / Country Music Icon

Posted by themusicsover on April 6, 2016

Merle Haggard
April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016

Merle-HaggardMerle Haggard was a country music legend who, along with Buck Owens, created the blueprint for what would become known as the “Bakersfield Sound,” a reaction to the slickly produced pop leaning country records that were coming out of Nashville at the time. Developed in local honky-tonks, the sound was built around the foundation of traditional country, the twang of a Telecaster, and the rough edge of vocals like Haggard’s.  Haggard also came to represent all that became “outlaw country.”  Songs like “Skid Row,” “They’re Tearing the Labor Camps Down,” “Okie From Muskogee,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” and “White Line Fever” found a huge audience with fans who could personally identify with the lyrics.  Over the course of a career that spanned five decades, Haggard scored nearly 40 #1 hit singles, a combined total of 25 ACM and CMA awards, three Grammys, and numerous other accolades.  His most recent album, 2015’s Django & Jimmie, with Willie Nelson, hit #1 on the Country charts and #7 on the Top 200. Not bad for an album that was recorded in just three days.  Merle Haggard passed away on April 6, 2016, his 79th birthday.  Cause of death was not immediately released although he had been battling pneumonia.

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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 (January 6, 2008) Ken Nelson / Former A&R Executive, Capitol Records

Posted by themusicsover on January 6, 2012

Ken Nelson
January 19, 1911 – January 6, 2008

With Wanda Jackson

Although by no means a household name,  Ken Nelson made one of the biggest impacts on country music during his time as an A&R executive at Capitol Records.  Specializing in country music, Nelson was one of the main factors in country music’s massive growth during the ’50s.  While with Capitol, he produced hit records by the likes of Buck Owens, Gene Vincent, Ferlin Husky, Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard and more.  In 1961, Nelson produced the Hank Thompson’s Live at the Golden Nugget, considered to be the first live album ever released by a country singer.   Ken Nelson was 96 when he passed away on January 6, 2008.



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Died On This Date (January 6, 2011) Gary Claxton / Heybale

Posted by themusicsover on January 6, 2012

Gary Claxton
DOB Unknown – January 6, 2011

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Gary Claxton was a respected Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter and guitarist.  As part of alt-country band, Heybale he was a popular weekly draw at the city’s world-famous watering hole, The Continental Club for nearly a decade.  That group also featured the great Redd Volkaert of Merle Haggard fame, and Ernie Poole Ball who played with Johnny Cash.  Claxton was born in Oklahoma and eventually moved to Nashville after winning a songwriting contest.  But he quickly became disillusion by the business that is country music, so he packed up and moved to Austin where his honky-tonk inspired sound fit more easily.  He later met the great Tom Lewis who invited him to join Heybale.   Either as part of Heybale or fronting groups made up of other local friends, he was always a crowd-pleaser thanks to his golden voice and his respect for traditional country music.  Gary Claxton took his own life on January 6, 2011.  He was 50 years old.



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Died On This Date (March 20, 2011) Ralph Mooney / Steel Guitar Legend

Posted by themusicsover on March 20, 2011

Ralph Mooney
September 16, 1928 – March 20, 2011

Ralph Mooney was an innovative and influential steel guitar player who launched his career after moving from Oklahoma to California during the 1940s.  By the ’50s, he was a staff player for Capitol Records where he played on records by the likes of Buck Owens, Rose Maddox, Wanda Jackson, and Merle Haggard. He later spent the better part of twenty years playing with Waylon Jennings.  By all accounts, the “Bakersfield sound” may never have been fully realized without the genius of Mooney.  As a songwriter, Mooney made perhaps his biggest mark with the 1956 Ray Price hit, “Crazy Heart,” which he co-wrote with Chuck Seals.  Although he had been retired since the mid ’90s, Marty Stuart coaxed Mooney out of retirement to play on his 2010 Grammy-winning Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions.  Ralph Mooney was 82 when he passed away on March 20, 2011.

Thanks to Jon Grimson for the assist.



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