Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buck Owens:1929-2006

When I was a youngster, one of the family traditions was gathering around the television to watch Hee Haw. The show, which started in 1969, featured country music artists performing their hits, as well as songs by members of the ensemble cast. My younger sister an I, unfamiliar with the music being played, would enjoy it during a song when a chorus line of animated dancing pigs would come out in the middle of the song.
The show as hosted by two talented country music artists, Roy Clark, one of the best stringed musicians America has ever produced, and Buck Owens. Both had been successful in their own right, but television brought them into America's living rooms. And it will be unfortunate that these two will be remembered for the cornpone country show, as opposed to their successes as recording artists and musicians. For Buck Owens, country music legend, passed away today at the age of 76.
Buck had a string of 20 number one hits, is perhaps best known (aside from the tv show), for his hit, "Act Naturally", which was later covered by the Beatles. He was also immortalized in John Fogerty's "Lookin' Out My Back Door", recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. He also recorded a song with Dwight Yoakam in 1988, "The Streets Of bakersfield"
Growing up, I had no use for country music. My music was rock and roll, so I overlooked a lot of artists from many different genres. It wasn't until I had kids of my own that I began to explore different genres, including country music, discovering a Buck Owens Greatest hits set at a flea market in 1998. It was the setting aside of my preconceived notions of what "good" music was that forced me to set aside any preconceived notions I may have held elsewhere.
And so, it is today that I give a great big unbrainwashed salute to a true American hero.

SAL-LUTE!

22 comments:

Left of Center said...

Really sad to see him go. I grew up with parents that watched HeHaw, but never knew till later in my life how talented he really was. I'm glad to wrote this lew.

Lew Scannon said...

I was the same way, but when you're a kid, it's just not cool to like the music of your parnets.

Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker said...

I, too was a big Buck fan as a child. Why, it seems like just yesterday he was kicking alien ass in the 25th century.

Also, a confession...I had the hots for Erin Gray.

Lew Scannon said...

Rex,
Really? I thought you liked his red white and blue guitar!

CTB said...

Lew,

I'm happy that you were able to keep an open mind. I remember you getting snippy with me when I said Zeppelin was better than the Ramones. I'm still right by the way :)

How are ya!

Granny said...

I was country when country wasn't cool. We loved Hee Haw, corny jokes and all.

Buck was the genuine article. So many these days aren't.

Lew Scannon said...

Granny,
You're right, these new acts are about as much a cowboy as Bush is, all hat and no country.
CTB,
I beg to differ, but if we all agreed on everything, we'd all be Republicans, now wouldn't we?

Left of Center said...

I'm with Lily. Zeppelin was better.

CTB said...

And Lew please tell me what the hell was up with Garth Brooks and his bogus demonic alter ego Chris whatever?

SOOOO damn weird.

Page.Page.Page.Page,Page.

Gratis said...

"Hee Haw" was my absolute favorite as a child. I loved Minnie Pearl and that whole thing in the cornfield. Sorry to see him go.

Lew Scannon said...

Lily,
I cannot explain that whole "Chris Gaines" thing other than it was Garth's desire to crossover in to the rock world (he actually started out as a rock musician)that had eluded him, which is why he became a country music star instead.

CTB said...

Those that can't rock- go country?


I just think he's scary.

And Yeah, "we'd all be Republicans".

LIKE YOU. Freak.

But you are my favorite conspiracy-blogging-bush-bashing-rant-like a maniac freak.

Ron Nasty said...

Zepplin Rules!

CTB said...

Lily, Miss Branford if you're NASTY!

HA.

Anyway- One of my earliest tv memories was the Sonny and Cher show. I was a seventies baby...

Lew Scannon said...

I remember Sonny and Cher as well, although for some reason my dad didn't like me watching that show.

Kathy said...

I saw a news clip about Owens on the evening news that was taken within the last year or two. He looked awful. I wish famous people would avoid cameras when they get old. I would prefer to remember them the way they were. (Not that old people are ugly mind you, but in Owens case we didn't get to watch him age and adjust to the differences!)

Kathleen Callon said...

Salute number two!

May he rest in peace in.

Amen.

Kathleen Callon said...

I loved Buck Rogers, too. I think my dad had the hots for Erin, but I'm pretty sure my mom had the hots for Buck. They're outfits were way cooler than Star Trek's, and the dialog was pretty great, too.

Led is NOT better than the Ramones. Seeing the Romones in Providence, RI was one of the greatest moments of my life. I even was blessed to have met Joey's (RIP) wife. She's one of the coolest people you could ever meet. I still listen to them when I do housework. Nothing like scrubbing toilets to "I Want to be Sedated"...

kissfan said...

I used to watch Hee Haw with my grandfather. I thought the show was hysterical. I see they've come out with the entire series on DVD now. That would be fun to go back and watch again.

It was Hee Haw that introduced me to one of my heroes, Johnny Cash. I will never be able to repay that debt as long as I live.

R.I.P. Buck.

kissfan said...

BTW - The Ramones could kick Zepplin's a@$ any day of the week and twice on Sundays!

Dave said...

The same happened to me. Our family would sit around the television and watch Hee Haw. I don't know if I really got it then, but one thing I did enjoy was when Buck Owens and Roy Clarke would strum and pick a song that was so engaging.

Later, as an adult, I began to appreciate country music, and still do, and one of my faves was Owens. His Streets of Bakersfield got new life with Dwight and brought him to the attention of a whole new generation of people.

In later years he commented that country music nowadays was more pop than country and he held little regard for a lot of the newer artists.

I have to agree with him. We're losing some great artists, the likes of which we will never see again!

Lew Scannon said...

I agree! I can listen to Hank Snow, or Lefty, or the other Hank (Sr,) or Johnny cash forever, but the new stuff is too American cheese for me.