Buck Owens

One of the first stars to meld country and rock together, Buck Owens created a form of wild hillbilly boogie, defined by its twanging, electrified distortion and old time rockabilly roots. Born Alvis Owens, he renamed himself Buck as a child (after the family horse) and dropped out of school in the 9th Grade to help out on the family farm during the Great Depression. Teaching himself to play the guitar, he started performing on local Arizona radio stations before moving to California during the Dust Bowl era and became a hero to the migrant workers of the 1950s and 1960s. Offering a rougher, tougher alternative to the slick Nashville country pop music, Owens was at the forefront of the Bakersfield Sound alongside Merle Haggard and Wynn Stewart, as this new form of jiving country rock came pouring out of the honky tonks and bars throughout the region. With his band The Buckaroos, Owens went on to score 20 Number 1 singles on the US Country charts, host the long-running TV show Hee Haw and become a real legend of country music with his biggest hits, including Act Naturally (later covered by The Beatles), I've Got A Tiger By The Tail and Together Again. In 1988 his collaboration with Dwight Yoakam on Streets of Bakersfield proved a final swansong, but he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and went on to influence the likes of Gram Parsons, The Rolling Stones, Emmylou Harris and Mark Lanegan, before dying in his sleep aged 76 in 2006.

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Stations Featuring Buck Owens

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