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Earl Thomas Conley (1941–2019), country music legend

Getty/Michael Ochs Archives

“Holding Her and Loving You” was one of his 18 No. 1 country songs

Earl Thomas Conley was a country music legend who charted 18 No. 1 songs on the Billboard country charts. His most popular hit songs were “Holding Her and Loving You,” “Right From the Start,” and “What I’d Say.” He broke new ground when he did a duet with Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters on the single “Too Many Times,” which made it to No. 2 on the country charts, with the duo appearing on “Soul Train.” Conley’s music was called, “thinking man’s country.” He was a major influence for many country music stars including Blake Shelton.

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Died: Wednesday April 10, 2019. (Who else died on April 10?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 77 from a condition similar to dementia, confirmed to the Tennessean by his brother, Fred.


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Country stars pay tribute to Earl Thomas Conley: “My heart is absolutely destroyed today... I’m sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning. Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest.” —Blake Shelton on Twitter

“An all time great. Earl Thomas Conley passed away today. Huge influence on me. Loved him. Prayers to his family. –T” —Toby Keith on Twitter

“So sad to hear #EarlThomasConley passed away today. He was a huge influence on my style and songwriting. I studied his records like text books and could play every note of every song. Truly one of the all time greats in country music.” —John Rich of Big & Rich on Twitter

Full obituary: The Tennessean

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