Archive for November, 2017

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 22 November 2017

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Mel Tillis (1932-2017)
Mel Tillis, 85, died of respiratory failure on November 19 at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. After colon surgery in Nashville in January 2016, he’d gone home to Ocala for medical care and physical therapy. He never recovered. Lonnie Melvin Tillis was one of the best, and best-loved, country entertainers ever. A Florida native, he began stuttering after a bout with malaria as a child. He served in the Air Force as a baker in the early 1950s. “People asked me if I served my country,” Mel once told Country Weekly. “I always tell them I sure did. I served cakes, pies and donuts.” His 1966 hit, “Stateside,” immortalized his Air Force time on Okinawa. After moving to Nashville in 1957, and finding success as a songwriter and singer, he named his band the Statesiders. Later awards included CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1976, induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. His family will soon release information about funeral services in Florida and Nashville. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 8 November 2017

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Billy Mize (1929-2017)
One of the last remaining founders of the “Bakersfield Sound” has died. William Robert Mize, 88, died October 28 at a nursing home in Pleasanton, California. He was a singer, songwriter, steel guitarist, and television host. The Academy of Country Music chose him as TV Personality of the Year three years in a row, 1965-1967. His most famous song was Charlie Walker’s “Who Will Buy the Wine.” He played steel guitar on recording sessions for Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Merle Travis, and others. For a time, he was one of Merle Haggard’s Strangers. A stroke in 1988, at age 59, kept him from speaking clearly for many years. Billy Mize regained his ability to sing and performed at his 80th birthday party. (more…)