Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Double Whammy in Country Music

Category:  News/Obituary

The world of country music has lost two giants on September 12.

Don Wayne.  Don Wayne was a superb songwriter, author of such songs as "Country Bumpkin," "It's Time to Pay the Fiddler" (both hits by Cal Smith), "The Belles of Southern Bell," and "Saginaw, Michigan," which he "co-wrote" with Bill Anderson.  In Anderson's autobiography Whisperin' Bill he explained how he came to be listed as Wayne's co-author:  Wayne was stuck on how to end the song, and Anderson suggested that he have the song's protagonist tell the greedy, snooty father of his love that there was gold to be had in Alaska.  Wayne took Anderson's suggestion and finished the song -- then insisted that Anderson be credited as co-writer.  Wayne was elected to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1978.  

Although no cause of death has yet been released, Wayne was hospitalized for some time and last week was placed in Hospice care.  He was 78.

Wade Mainer.  In a 1984 interview Jethro Burns called Wade Mainer a true pioneer of country music and suggested that Mainer belonged in the Hall of Fame.  Mainer and his Mountaineers go back to the 1930s.  He recorded with Zeke Morris, with his brother J.E. Mainer, and on his own.  In 2007 a biography, Banjo on the Mountain:  Wade Mainer's First Hundred Years (written by Dick Spottswood with Stephen Wade), was published by the University of Mississippi Press.  He was considered the longest-living country performer ever.  He passed away from congestive heart failure at his home in North Carolina.

Farewell to these two legendary gentlemen of country music.

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