One of the legends in country music, and an icon in Bakersfield, CA radio passed away this weekend.
Buck Owens died in his sleep Saturday morning at the age of 76.
Owens had a string of hits in the 60's and 70's, and was a regular on one of TV's longest running series, "Hee Haw" well into the 1980's.Owens, who helped spread the twangy "Bakersfield sound" as an antidote to Nashville's slick country music, died of heart failure at his home, said his keyboard player Jim Shaw. The night before, he had performed his usual twice-weekly concert at his entertainment complex, Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.
"He was one of the true innovators," Shaw said. "He did it his own way, an outside gunslinger type who used his own band and made music in Hollywood rather than Nashville. That free spirit made him important to a lot of people."
Owens owned several radio and tv stations, including the legendary (in country music radio circles) KUZZ in Bakersfield.
Personal note: A friend of mine and kind of protegee named Jeremy Robyn had recently gotten his first on-air gig as weekend newsman there. On his third or fourth weekend there, he helps break the news on-air about the death of his new boss...who just happened to be an icon. Wow.
"You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me
You Say You Care Less How I Feel
But How Many Of You That Sit And Judge me
Have Walked The Streets Of Bakersfield"....
(duet with Dwight Yoakam)