The world of country music suffered two significant losses on Wednesday.
Slim Whitman: Ottis Dewey "Slim" Whitman died of heart failure in a hospital in Orange Park, Florida, a city near Jacksonville. Whitman was one of the few American country singers who had far greater success overseas than in the States. That is not to diminish his hits here, however: Whitman had three gold singles, "Indian Love Call" (1952), and his versions of "Secret Love" and "Rose Marie" (both 1954). He had eleven top ten singles in total out of the 37 that charted on Billboard between 1952 and 1981. Additionally, he earned an eternal place in science fiction history when his voice singing "Indian Love Call" destroyed the invading Martians in the 1996 spoof Mars Attacks! Slim Whitman was 89.
Chet Flippo: One of the most respected journalists in music, Chet Flippo died after a long illness in Nashville. Flippo came to prominence as a writer for Rolling Stone, where he introduced a primarily rock readership to the joys of country music. He also worked for Billboard magazine and as the content editor for CMT.com. While he wrote several books it was his 1981 biography of Hank Williams, Your Cheatin' Heart, that was the first extensive work on the legendary singer. Flippo's wife, Martha Hume (who was also a writer), died last December. Flippo was 69.
Farewell to these two greats.