Archive for the ‘Faron Young’ Category

The Law of Attraction

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

The law of attraction states that you attract what you think about. I learned this when I read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne (Atria Books, 2006). Byrne asks, “Have you ever started to think about something you were not happy about, and the more you thought about it the worse it seemed? That’s because as you think one sustained thought, the law of attraction immediately brings more like thoughts to you.” (more…)

Researching a Biography

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Faron Young died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1996, while I was stationed with the U.S. Navy in Japan. One of my favorite singers, he was also an acquaintance. After his death, he seemed to be almost forgotten, and I started thinking about writing his biography. I wanted to write books as a retirement career, and it would be great to meet famous country musicsingers and listen to their memories of Faron.

But I didn’t know anyone in the music business, or the publishing business, or anyone who knew Faron. And I didn’t know how to write a biography.

Faron Young Biography Written By Clear Lake Native

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

ET Record Shop book signing

[Published in the Clear Lake Courier (South Dakota) on December 12, 2007]

Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story, Diane Diekman’s biography of country music legend Faron Young, has been officially released in Nashville, Tennessee.

Diekman, a 1968 graduate of Clear Lake High School, spent seven years researching Young’s life and writing his biography. The book combines an account of his public career with a revealing, intimate portrait of his personal life. Young, famous for such hits as “Hello Walls” and “It’s Four In the Morning,” founded Music City News magazine during his tenure as Nashville businessman and country music entertainer. He was elected posthumously to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000, four years after his suicide. (more…)

What Can I Do For You?

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

The will Faron Young signed three months before his suicide directed that everything be sold–from guns and clothing to publishing rights and song royalties.


Faron’s estate was purchased by Ed Gregory, whose United Shows of America (The Ultimate Midway) can be found at many state fairs.


My biography research includes reviewing Faron’s remaining possessions and papers. I persistently tried to contact the very busy Ed Gregory by letters and telephone calls.


On a 1999 Nashville visit, I made several attempts before he actually picked up the telephone and talked to me. He asked, “When do you want to come out?”


“How about this afternoon?” (more…)

No More Four in the Morning

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

[Excerpt from Navy Greenshirt]


Before going to Japan, I had called Faron Young, and we’d held a long enjoyable conversation. As always, he had an opinion on everything and didn’t care how people reacted to his comments and actions. I enjoyed his wonderful sense of humor.


He said he’d stopped smoking–again. (He had stopped smoking and drinking when Clarice and I visited him in 1992.) He told me he realized he needed to do something when breathing became so difficult he couldn’t walk the length of his house.


Now he felt better and could vacuum floors and walk to the end of the driveway. (more…)

Profile of Faron Young

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

“Dear Faron — When you’re good, you’re very very good. But when you’re bad, you’re the opposite!” These words of a speech teacher can be found in Faron Young’s 1951 high school yearbook. They accurately predicted the life of this future country music legend.


From a teenager who cleaned fishing boats and sold manure for fertilizer, Faron Young rose rapidly to the top of the country music charts. He became a successful Nashville businessman as well as an entertainer who taught countless others about showmanship and business. His hit records spanned four decades.


Even at a young age, Faron possessed confidence in his singing talent. His high school girlfriend recalled the evening they attended a Hank Williams concert: “As we drove behind the big Municipal Auditorium, Faron spotted Hank Williams out on the back balcony behind the stage, smoking a cigarette.


“Faron rolled down the window and yelled, ‘Hey, Hank! Why don’t you let me come up there and teach you how to sing a song?’ Hank just laughed at his brashness, and yelled back, ‘Well, come on then!’ (more…)

Big Willie

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Willie Nelson was an unknown songwriter when he pitched Hello Walls to Faron Young, one of the hottest singers in country music. Faron recorded the song in 1961, and it stayed at number one on the Billboard country music charts for nine weeks.


Faron later explained in a radio interview that artists get paid sooner than writers do. When he had already received $38,000 for the song, Willie was still broke.


Willie asked Faron for a loan, and promised to sell him the song’s royalty rights.


Faron gave Willie five $100 bills, and “made him swear on a stack of Bibles he wouldn’t sell that song.” (more…)

Country Deputies Reunion

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Country Deputies


Faron Young–the Singing Sheriff–recorded country songs and entertained for more than forty years. His hits included Goin’ Steady, Sweet Dreams, Hello Walls, Alone With You, It’s Four In the Morning, and Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young.


The Country Deputies backed him from 1954 until his death in 1996.


When Faron completed his Army service and returned to Nashville in late 1954, fiddler Gordon Terry became the first member of his band.


Joe Vincent on steel guitar and Tom Pritchard on bass also joined him.


The Wilburn Brothers played lead and rhythm guitar and fronted the show, until embarking on their highly successful recording career.


To get a name for the band, Faron’s manager Hubert Long held a contest. (more…)

Legends Lost

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

[I wrote this for Newsweek’s “My Turn” column but didn’t get my turn.]


Country music legend Faron Young died December 10, 1996, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. News reports said depression over health problems and a feeling that the music industry had passed him by contributed to his suicide.


My friendship with Faron began St. Patrick’s Day 1970, when I attended his concert in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and stayed late to collect autographs. He wouldn’t let me walk back to my college at midnight. Instead, he took me there in his tour bus.


Over the years, after graduating from college and joining the Navy, I went to every Faron Young concert within driving distance.


Whenever Faron noticed me in the audience in front of the stage, he’d render a salute. (more…)

Written at Four in the Morning

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Nashville songwriter Jerry Chesnut remembers well that pre-dawn morning in 1971 when he could not sleep. He picked up his guitar, looked at his watch, and said, “It’s four in the morning and a new day is dawning.” Then he started writing a song.


The first two verses and chorus came easily, but he got stuck on the final verse.


He went outside and started disking one of the fields on his farm. A line came to him while driving the tractor: “I saw more love in her eyes when I left her than most foolish men will ever see.” He wrote the third verse in his mind, while singing the song over and over, above the sound of the tractor motor.


When he got it “right” and could remember the words, he pulled the pin to disconnect the disk and took off down the hill. (more…)