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Lefty Frizzell: Honky-Tonk Star

Published: 3/31/2014
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Lefty Frizzell (Wikimedia Commons/Columbia Records)

Lefty Frizzell was an early honky-tonk star, a singer and songwriter who toured with Hank Williams and influenced a generation of country music stars such as George Jones, Merle Haggard and Roy Orbison. The native Texan, born this date in 1928, was singing in public as a preteen and reached the top of the country music chart when he was barely in his 20s. His early years of fame were record-breaking. In 1951 he had four songs in the Top 10 of the country chart simultaneously, an achievement that stood alone until the Beatles broke the record in 1964 with five songs on the pop chart. Frizzell's career was still going strong when the lads from Liverpool broke that record –– in 1964 he cracked the country chart's No. 1 spot with his hit "Saginaw, Michigan." His songs were still hot on the charts when he died after a stroke in 1975 at just 47.

Frizzell’s career likely would have kept going for many years if not for his untimely death. He helped shape the sound of country music, and we're continuing to enjoy his music today. We're observing his birthday with a couple of favorites.

Frizzell's first No. 1 hit: "If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time"



"Long Black Veil" became a standard, but Frizzell was the first to record it in 1959.


 

Written by Linnea Crowther. Find her on Google+.

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