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Singer Buck Owens Dies At 76

Posted by Daniel on March 28, 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,” has died at age 76.

Owens died Saturday at his home in Bakersfield, California, said family
spokesman Jim Shaw, who played keyboards in Owens’ band, the Buckaroos.
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
(160 kilometers) north of Los Angeles that Owens called home.

“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.”

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.

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?

“Those guys were phenomenal,” Owens once said.

Ringo Starr recorded “Act Naturally” twice, singing lead on the Beatles’ 1965
version and recording it as a duet with Owens in 1989. The song, by
Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison, tells of a poor soul who foresees a
movie career playing “a man who’s sad and lonely, and all I gotta do is
act naturally. … Might win an Oscar, you can never tell.”

In addition to music, Owens had a highly visible TV career as co-host of
“Hee Haw” from 1969 to 1986. With Clark, he led viewers through a
potpourri of country music and hayseed humor.

“It’s an honest show,” Owens told The Associated Press in 1995. “There’s no social message — no crusade. It’s fun and simple.”

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2 Responses to “Singer Buck Owens Dies At 76”

  1. this is good looking. http://www.atennessee.com

  2. Spencer said

    everyone i knew growing up in oklahoma watched hee-haw. i would imagine anyone who hosted that show ended up in hell.

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