Buck Owens was born in the small town of Abbott, Texas on November 13th, 1929. He is best known for his hit songs “Bumble Bee” and “Heartaches By The Number”. He also released over 50 albums during his career.
Buck Owens is an American country music singer and actor. He was the first solo artist to release 100 consecutive gold records in a row, having released 78 studio albums and 38 compilation albums during his career. His songs such as “Crazy Women,” “Sixteen Tons,” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” have been covered by many artists across many genres of music.,
Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens were both born in Texas, but they never met until after their deaths. They are often considered to be the best country singers of all time.
Buck Owens co-founded the Bakersfield sound with Merle Haggard in the 1960s, a twangy, electric, rock-influenced version of hardcore honky tonk. Between 1963 and 1967, Owens was the first true country artist to emerge from Bakersfield, earning 15 consecutive number one singles. He also offered an edgy counterpoint to the string-laden country-pop that was popular at the time. Due to his prominent position on the country comedy show Hee Haw later in his career, his musical influence was forgotten by some. Nonetheless, his work inspired many generations of artists, from Gram Parsons in the late 1960s through Dwight Yoakam in the 1980s, and it became one of the blueprints for contemporary country music.
Owens was born in Texas, but when he was a kid, his family relocated to Mesa, Arizona, in search of employment during the Great Depression. Owens began playing guitar in his early teens after developing a strong interest in music as a youngster. He dropped out of high school in ninth year, working on the farm to support his family while simultaneously learning to play the guitar. He was performing honky tonks and bars around Phoenix with his buddy Theryl Ray Britten by his late teens, and he had an occasional slot on a local radio station, KTYL Mesa. He married Bonnie Campbell, another country artist, when he was 19 years old. The couple had two sons by 1950.
Buck and Bonnie Owens moved from Arizona to Bakersfield, California, in 1951. He became a frequent performer at a variety of Bakersfield venues, including The Blackboard, where he was the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Bill Woods & the Orange Blossom Playboys. Soon after, he created the Schoolhouse Playboys, who also performed at The Blackboard. Buck’s exposure in Bakersfield led to some Capitol session work, starting with Tommy Collins’ smash “You Better Not Do That” in 1954. Buck and Bonnie drifted apart at this time and divorced in 1953, although they remained friends and shared care of their children.
Owens played guitar on many Capitol country recordings recorded by Ken Nelson between 1954 and 1958, including those by Faron Young, Tommy Sands, and Wanda Jackson. He worked as a session musician at Lewis Talley’s Lu-Tal studio in Bakersfield on occasion. In 1956, Owens made his first solo recordings in Talley’s studio, cutting 10 songs for the Pep label. Despite the failure of the songs, which featured the often-covered “Down on the Corner of Love” and “Sweethearts in Heaven,” as well as two rockabilly sides issued under the name Corky Jones, they drew the attention of many country music insiders. Owens met Harlan Howard, a struggling country singer/songwriter, at this period. Buck wrote the music and Harlan wrote the words, and the two became friends and colleagues. In order to publish their tunes, Owens and Howard founded Blue Book Music that year.
Owens continued to perform in Bakersfield bars on a regular basis. At these shows, he drew the notice of Town Hall Party’s Johnny Bond and Joe Maphis, both of whom were signed to Columbia Records. The duo were so taken by Owens’ music that they submitted a tape to their record company, who were eager to sign Buck right away. Several Capitol employees tried to persuade Ken Nelson, the label’s country A&R director, to sign Buck Owens as a recording artist, but Nelson didn’t believe Buck was a competent lead singer or composer. In February 1957, the A&R chief opted to sign Owens when a Capitol recording act, the Farmer Boys, chose Owens’ songs to record instead of Nelson’s.
Owens’ Capitol hits were first overlooked. They were country-pop tunes with backup vocals provided by a choir ensemble. Both singles sunk without a trace when they were released in 1957, since such a huge production didn’t mesh well with his raw honky tonk origins. Owens, who was struggling financially due to a lack of sales, relocated to a suburb of Tacoma, Washington, in January 1958 to work at KAYE, a radio station. He performed clubs in the region in addition to DJing and selling advertising for the station. Owens was sure that his music career was finished by the summer, but Ken Nelson refused to release him from his contract. Owens did another Capitol Records session in the autumn of 1958, but this time he was permitted to utilize a steel guitar and a violin. “Second Fiddle,” one of the tracks from the session, was published as a single and went on to become a surprise success, reaching number 24 on the country charts. Owens remained in Tacoma, presenting his own live program on KTNT, despite his first taste of fame. He was dubious about his future as a recording artist, so he stayed in Tacoma. Loretta Lynn, a fresh local singer, was highlighted on the program. More significantly for Owens, it was during this radio program that he met Don Rich (born Donald Eugene Ulrich). In the following decade, Rich would become Owens’ companion and have a huge impact on his music.
Owens struck through with his follow-up to “Second Fiddle,” “Under Your Spell Again,” released in the autumn of 1959. The song, which reached number four, kicked off a string of Top Ten hits that lasted into the 1970s. Owens returned to Bakersfield after the popularity of “Under Your Spell Again.” Rich also relocated to Bakersfield that winter, joining Owens’ band as a fiddler and guitarist. Owens purchased Howard’s portion in Blue Book Music in early 1960, giving him exclusive control over the publication of all of Howard’s tunes. In the spring, “Above and Beyond” became a number three hit.
In the autumn of 1960, Owens scored his next success, “Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got a Heartache).” Buck Owens, his debut album, was released in January 1961, and included the song “Foolin’ Around,” which lasted eight weeks at number two. He had a smash song, “Mental Cruelty,” in the spring of that year.https://www.allmusic.com/ Rose Maddox and I recorded “Loose Talk.” Owens and Rich started traveling the nation together, performing in honky tonks with pickup bands. Soon after, the duo switched from acoustic to electric guitars, namely Fender Telecasters, which have a bright, punchy twang. Rich would go on to become the band’s main guitarist. Owens’ two Top Ten singles in 1962, “Kickin’ Our Hearts Around” and “You’re for Me,” reflected this shift. The songs were bright, driving 2/4 tunes with a touch of rock & roll influence, rather than the plodding honky tonk ballads that had been Owens’ trademark. Owens had started putting together his own band, which included a drummer, bassist, and pedal steel guitarist, by the beginning of 1963. Merle Haggard, who called the band the Buckaroos, was one of the original bassists for the band.
“Act Naturally,” Owens’ first number one hit, was released in the spring of 1963. Buck began a run of 15 consecutive number one songs with “Act Naturally,” which catapulted him from a popular performer to a superstar. “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” the follow-up song, became his greatest success, spending 16 weeks at the top. “My Heart Skips a Beat,” which was released in the spring of 1964 and spent seven weeks at the top of the charts, was almost as popular. The B-side, “Together Again,” took its place at the top; later that year, “I Don’t Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)” lasted six weeks at the top.
“I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” “Before You Go,” “Only You (Can Break My Heart),” and the instrumental showcase “Buckaroo” were among his number one songs in 1965. “I will produce no album that is not a country record,” Owens said in an advertising in the Nashville-based magazine Music City News that April. He subsequently released I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, his eighth album, which included a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis.” Owens described “Memphis” as a rockabilly song, which he considered to be a subgenre of country music. In 1965, he established Buck Owens Enterprises (directed by his sister Dorothy) and the booking agency OMAC Artists Corporation, demonstrating his financial acumen. Blue Book Music was also becoming very popular, with Owens and Haggard’s tunes bringing in a lot of money for the business. Owens started buying radio stations the next year, and by the end of the decade, he controlled four.
Owens’ breakthrough was instrumental in the Bakersfield sound gaining national recognition. Along with Owens, Haggard, Wynn Stewart, and Tommy Collins were all classified under this category. In stark contrast to Nashville’s polished country-pop, the Bakersfield musicians modernized honky tonk. Owens became one of the greatest performers in popular music in the mid-’60s as a result. He was doing hundreds of performances a year, selling thousands of albums, and selling out concerts all across the United States. In 1966, he added “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line,” “Think of Me,” and “Open Up Your Heart” to his string of number one singles. Buck Owens’ Ranch, Owens’ first television series, premiered that year. At its height, the show was a half-hour music show that aired throughout the year and was syndicated to 100 cities. Owens’ run of number one singles continued in 1967, with “Where Do the Good Times Go,” “Sam’s Place,” and “Your Tender Loving Care” all reaching number one. When “It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)” reached number two at the end of the year, his run came to an end.
In 1968, Owens started to experiment with different textures, tempos, and artistic flourishes in his work. All of his songs from 1968 — “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone,” “Sweet Rosie Jones,” “Let the World Keep on a Turnin’,” “I’ve Got You on My Mind Again” — peaked in the Top Ten, with all but one reaching the Top Five. The next year, Owens built Buck Owens Studios, a state-of-the-art 16-track recording facility in downtown Bakersfield. Capitol agreed to let him record himself and many other artists in the studio, including Susan Raye, Tony Booth, and Buddy Alan, with the label just pressing and packaging the albums.
While Owens had a sizable country fan base, he had also gained a sizable pop and rock following. Owens headlined and sold out two concerts at the legendary rock & roll venue Fillmore West in the fall of 1968. Not only did the Beatles cover “Act Naturally” on their 1965 Help! album, but he also headlined and sold out two concerts at the legendary rock & roll venue Fillmore West in the fall of 1968. Owens kept experimenting with music, as demonstrated by his two number one songs in 1969, “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” and “Tall Dark Stranger.” Owens’ second television program, Hee Haw, debuted in the summer of 1969. Hee Haw was conceived by two Canadian television producers as a down-home, rural counterpart of the famous Laugh-In. Owens was recruited as the show’s host, and singer/guitarist Roy Clark joined him as a co-host. Owens only had to film the program twice a year, in June and October, and his parts were stretched out throughout the whole season. Originally intended as a summer substitute for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the program was so popular that CBS decided to renew it into the autumn. Owens grew in popularity as Hee Haw grew in popularity. Capitol issued nine Owens albums, including reissues and three new studio recordings, in little over a year, from December 1969 to February 1971. He continued to chart in the Top Ten during this period, with “The Kansas City Song” reaching number two in the summer of 1970 and “I Wouldn’t Live in New York City (If They Gave Me the Whole Dang Town)” reaching number ten at the end of the year.
Owens signed what would turn out to be his last deal with Capitol in January 1971. After his contract ended, he would acquire ownership of all of his Capitol recordings from 1957 to 1975; Capitol may continue to produce Owens albums until 1980, when the masters would all be returned to Buck. He had Top Ten successes throughout 1971, including “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Ruby (Are You Mad),” and “Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Hee Haw was canceled by CBS in 1971, and the program went into syndication, where it grew in popularity. It was so popular by 1973 that it drove Buck Owens’ Ranch off the air, owing to the fact that Owens’ first show couldn’t compete with the huge ratings of his second. He earned his last number one hit as a solo artist in the spring of 1972, the ballad “Made in Japan.” After that, though, his career started to decline. With “Big Game Hunter,” released at the end of 1973, it took him almost a year to return to the Top Ten. In the spring and summer of 1974, two more Top Ten successes followed, albeit both were novelty songs: “On the Cover of the Music City News,” a reworking of Dr. Hook’s “On the Cover of the Rolling Stone,” and “(It’s A) Monsters’ Holiday.”
Rich, Owens’ longtime companion and musician, died in a motorbike accident in July 1974, sending Buck into a severe melancholy. Though he scored one more Top Ten success with “Great Expectations” that autumn, he struggled to crack the Top 40 in the years after Rich’s death. Owens’ contract with Capitol ended in 1975, and he went to Warner Bros. Records in Nashville, where he started recording. His music started to sound more like country-pop than the hard-edged Bakersfield style he had been known for, but that’s because he gave producers creative control over his recordings. Owens’ record sales had dropped considerably, but Hee Haw was still popular. Ironically, the program’s popularity had an unintended consequence: Owens became the cornball country comic he was on the show, rather than the diehard honky tonker he was at heart, for many listeners in the public audience. That impression persisted until the end of the 1970s, and even a smash duet with Emmylou Harris in 1979, “Play Together Again Again,” couldn’t change it. Owens decided in 1980 that he didn’t want to keep up with the continuous touring and recording. His contract with Warner came to an end, and he significantly reduced his appearances. He continued to film Hee Haw until 1986, despite being semi-retired.
Owens was mostly absent from the public eye throughout the early and mid-’80s, when a new generation of country singers was emerging. They, like Buck in the 1960s, stood in contrast to Nashville’s pop-inflected country, basing their style on Owens and Haggard’s Bakersfield country. Dwight Yoakam, one of the new traditionalists’ most prominent singers, convinced Owens to join him on a re-recording of Buck’s 1972 song “Streets of Bakersfield.” The pair recorded the song after performing it on a CBS television special, and it was released in the summer of 1988. “Streets of Bakersfield” became a huge success, reaching number one; it was Owens’ first number one song since 1972. Its popularity encouraged him to return to the studio and produce a new album, Hot Dog! It was a modest success, and Owens was re-energized as a result. He reformed the Buckaroos and proceeded to perform and record, including a duet with Ringo Starr on “Act Naturally.”
Owens didn’t record or perform much in the 1990s, but his iconic Capitol recordings started to emerge on compact disc for the first time since he took ownership of the tapes from Capitol in 1980. Furthermore, Owens’ impact reverberated across country music as well as certain rock and roll circles. Owens was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1993 and sent to the hospital for pneumonia in 1997; he died at his Bakersfield home in 2006 at the age of 76.
Bear Family started a thorough reissue campaign of Owens’ Capitol Recordings shortly after his death, which resulted in three box sets issued between 2008 and 2012. Buck ‘Em! : The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967), which combined popular songs and rarities, launched an Omnivore reissue campaign in 2013 and was followed by a sequel in 2017. Omnivore has published three double-disc collections of Owens’ Complete Capitol Singles, as well as other archive releases from the vaults, such as the 2018 release of the canceled 1975 album Country Singer’s Prayer.
The “who is buck owens son” is a question that many people ask. Buck Owens was born in 1923 and died in 2006. He sang, played guitar, and wrote songs. His most popular song was “Act Naturally.”
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