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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Johnny Russell born 23 January 1940

John Bright "Johnny" Russell (January 23, 1940 – July 3, 2001) was an American country singer, songwriter, and comedian. His songs have been recorded by Burl Ives, Jim Reeves, Jerry Garcia, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt. This hefty Nashville songwriter weighed in at 25 stone, and was fond of remarking that he carried ‘a lot of weight in this town.’
Born in Moorhead, Mississippi, he moved with his family at age 11 to Fresno, California.Inspired by country stars of the 1940s and 50s - such as Lefty Frizzell and Ernest Tubb - he began entering talent contests, performing in clubs and writing songs while still in high school, graduating in 1958. He had his first song published that year, In a Mansion Stands My Love, which was recorded by Jim Reeves as the "B" side of his 1960 hit He'll Have to Go.
In 1963, Buck Owens recorded "Act Naturally," co-written by Voni Morrison, which went to No. 1 and was recorded by The Beatles two years later. Ringo Starr sang the vocals, and he and Owens later recorded a duet of the song in 1989.
Over the next few years, Russell worked in California and Nashville, writing songs for the Wilburn Brothers' publishing company, Sure-Fire. In 1971, Chet Atkins, who had produced the Reeves recording, signed him to an RCA contract.

His recording of his song Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer was his only top 10 hit, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in October 1973. The song was nominated later that year for a Grammy Award. Russell is also known for hits such as The Baptism of Jesse Taylor, Catfish John, and Hello, I Love You.
Leon Russell (no relation) was known for being the first one   record He Stopped Loving Her Today, in some surveys named as the greatest country song of all time and the biggest hit for George Jones in 1980, but his label refused to release it. Years later, George Strait topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with Russell's song Let's Fall to Pieces Together.
As a songwriter, Russell also wrote "Making Plans," which was recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt on their "Trio" album in 1987, and the No. 1 hit "Let's Fall to Pieces Together," recorded in 1984 by George Strait.
Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985, and over the years became the regular closing act of the popular radio show.

In 1987, Russell hosted his first annual concert in Moorhead, MS at the MS Delta Community College Coliseum. These went on for 13 years, his final on April 29, 2000. A jolly, 275-pound man who wore a trademark black captain's hat, Russell often joked about his weight. "Can everybody see me all right?" was his traditional opening remark on stage. A mild stroke put Russell out of action for some time, but he returned to the road until dialysis treatments slowed him down once more. He returned to recording in 2000 with the charming Actin’ Naturally.
Russell, in a 1988 interview with The Associated Press, said he was proud of his success with "Act Naturally." "I sit in a ballpark with 40,000 other people and I think, 'Of all the people here, I'm probably the only guy who wrote a Beatles' record.'"
By 2001, Russell's health had been in a state of decline (for years, he had used his obesity as a running joke on the Grand Ole Opry), and in April 2001, both of his legs were amputated because of diabetes. Russell died July 3, 2001 peacefully at a Nashville hospital at the age of 61, from diabetes-related complications.
Garth Brookes, who performed with Russell during his last public appearance at the Opry House during March 2001, spoke about the prolific singer/songwriter: "Because of Johnny's modesty, hardly any of us realizes his unbelievable talent and the contribution he made to music. Even in his last days, when everyone was stopping by to try and cheer him up, it was he who was making everyone else laugh. He was a truly unselfish, sweet man  (info edited from various sources mainly Wikipedia and CMT)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For “Here's Johnny - Johnny Russell” go here:

01 Rednecks, Whitesocks And Blue Ribbon Beer
02 Catfish John
03 Crystal Chandeliers
04 Johnny Russell
05 The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp
06 You've Never Been Far Before
07 The Baptism Of Jesse Taylor
08 In A Mansion Stands My Love
09 Got No Reason Now For Goin' Home
10 The New Wore Off
11 Act Naturally
12 The Jamestown Ferry
13 The Year That Clayton Delaney Died
14 No One Will Ever Know
15 Just One Time
16 Sweet Thang
17 I'll Be Gone Before You Even Know I Left
18 She's In Love With A Rodeo Man
19 He's Got You Right Where I Want You
20 I Wonder How She's Doing Now
21 (Drinkin' A Beer And Singing A Country Song
22 Making Plans
23 Do I Even Cross Your Mind
24 Don't Throw Me Away
25 Chained
26 Ain't You Even Gonna Cry

A big Thank You to for the active link