Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buck Owens Passing today March 25, 2006

Singer Buck Owens, the flashy rhinestone cowboy who shaped the sound of country music with hits like "Act Naturally" and brought the genre to TV on the long-running "Hee Haw," died Saturday. He was 76.

Owens died at his home in Bakersfield, said family spokesman Jim Shaw. The cause of death was not immediately known. Owens had undergone throat cancer surgery in 1993 and was hospitalized with pneumonia in 1997.

His career was one of the most phenomenal in country music, with a string of more than 20 No. 1 records, most released from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.

They were recorded with a honky-tonk twang that came to be known throughout California as the "Bakersfield Sound," named for the town 100 miles north of Los Angeles that Owens called home.

"I think the reason he was so well known and respected by a younger generation of country musicians was because he was an innovator and rebel," said Shaw, who played keyboards in Owens' band, the Buckaroos. "He did it out of the Nashville establishment. He had a raw edge."

Owens, elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, was modest when describing his aspirations.

"I'd like to be remembered as a guy that came along and did his music, did his best and showed up on time, clean and ready to do the job, wrote a few songs and had a hell of a time," he said in 1992.

An indefatigable performer, Owens played a red, white and blue guitar with fireball fervor. He and the Buckaroos wore flashy rhinestone suits in an era when flash was as important to country music as fiddles.

"When people start looking back on his career, they are going to be surprised by the number of things he did first," said guitarist Roy Clark, who worked with Owens on "Hee Haw." "He left a great legacy in country music."

Among his biggest hits were "Together Again" (also recorded by Emmylou Harris), "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "Love's Gonna Live Here," "My Heart Skips a Beat" and "Waitin' in Your Welfare Line."

And he was the answer to this music trivia question: What country star had a hit record that was later done by the Beatles?
ABC News ...

Buck Owens Oklahoma City appearance at Diamond Ballroom in 60's

I was the AE at the Daily Oklahoman for the Diamond Ballroom and designed the ads and ran them for Buck's show at the Diamond.
My wife Sara and I sat at Buck's table during the show along with Bonnie Campbell Owens, Bud and Don Mathis, Jude and Jody and wives and girlfriends.
I was later offered a job at his radio station in Bakersfield, Ca. by his manager but being a died in the wool Okie I declined.
Buck and Merle and Willie carried on the tradition of Bob Wills.
We have lost a great performer and artist.

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