When you think of classic country stars, legendary musicians such as Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and other singers from the 50s and 60s typically come to mind. But there are quite a few stars in recent times whose material ranks right up there with some of the greatest creative minds in country music history. Toby Keith and Randy Travis among others are country stars that we will one day back on as being some of the greatest recording artists of their era. Classic country music is still featured on radio stations throughout the United States even with the proliferation of modern country artists, of which many of whom incorporate more of a pop-style influence in their music.
Countless country music stars have entertained fans with their chart-topping songs over the decades, but quite a few of them have had to contend with both personal and professional problems that greatly impacted, if not ended their lives. Some have struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism, while others have gotten in trouble with the law and served lengthy prison stints for their crimes. Several were abused by their spouses while still yet, others died much too young while at the peak of their musical careers.
In this video, we’re going to be detailing some of the tragedies that classic country stars have had to cope with. And no, it’s not always about the dog dying and the girl leaving for another man. Some of these country stars that we’re about to discuss were forced to endure unimaginable pain and suffering.
Hank Williams Battled Addiction And Died Young
Hank Williams was one of the most popular country stars in the 1940s and 1950s with his hit singles like Cold, Cold Heart, Hey Good Lookin, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, and Your Cheatin’ Heart. When he was a child, Hank’s family didn’t have much money and he suffered from a debilitating health condition called spina bifida. His musical career took off in the early 1940s, but his chronic back pain led to alcohol and drug abuse. It was fairly common for him to perform onstage drunk as a skunk.
Despite wrestling with his alcoholism, Williams’s career skyrocketed after the release of his 1949 song Lovesick Blues. The more famous that he became, however, the more he turned to the bottle to cope with his inner turmoil. And before long, he was abusing morphine to cope with his back pain. In time, he was fired by the Grand Ole Opry, gained 30 pounds, started going bald, and suffered a minor heart attack.
On December 30, 1952, Hank fell unconscious in a hotel room yet his doctor still cleared him to keep working. Several days later on New Year’s Eve, Williams had a heart attack in the back seat of his Cadillac and died. Hank was just 29 years old when he passed away, but despite his relatively short career, he made a tremendous impact on the country music scene. In 1961, Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and was given a special citation by the Pulitzer Board in 2010 for his songwriting.
Hey, not to get too derailed, but if you’re enjoying this video so far, do us a favor and give it a like while subscribing to Facts Verse.
And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to find out which country music star lied to the press about being kidnapped to hide the fact that her husband was routinely abusing her. We’ll get to that in just a minute, but first, check out what happened to the late-great Patsy Cline.
Patsy Cline Died In A Plane Crash At 30
Born during the Great Depression, Patsy Cline was abused by her father as a child. After her deadbeat dad abandoned his family, Cline dropped out of high school so that she could get a job and help support her struggling family. She became obsessed with music at an early age.
In 1953, Patsy married Gerald Cline, but they ended up splitting just four years later. She then married Charlie Dick in 1967 and gave birth to a daughter a year later.
At that point during her musical career, Cline’s biggest hit was Walkin’ After Midnight which peaked on the country charts at number 2 and on the pop charts at number 12. She then had a son in 1961 and released a slew of hit singles including Pieces, Crazy and She’s Got You.
In September 1962, Cline, who just a year prior had survived a horrific car accident, told her friends Loretta Lynn, Dottie West, and June Carter that she had premonitions of her impending demise. On March 3, 1964, after playing a show in Kansas City, Cline died in a plane crash along with the pilot and Opry stars Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. She was only 30 years old.
9 years later, Cline was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was the first solo female artist to be presented with that honor.
George Jones Had More Issues Than Most Realized
George Jones grew up in an impoverished household in Texas. He was one of eight children. In his autobiography ‘I Lived To Tell It All’, Jones revealed that his father was an abusive alcoholic. His dad may have had his own demons, but he was also the one that gave George his first guitar when he was eight years old.
In 1950, Jones had a short-lived marriage that failed because of his own problems with alcoholism coupled with his uncontrollable temper.
Jones became a bonafide country music star in the early 1950s with hit singles like White Lightning and Tender Years. But even though he was experiencing great success with his career, substance abuse led to his divorce from his second wife. In 1959, he tied the knot with fellow singer, Tommy Wynette, but they too divorced in 1975.
At this point, Jones’s life was in shambles, and he would often disappear for days at a time, missing tour dates and recording sessions. Around this time, Jones also started abusing cocaine, which inevitably led to significant weight loss. During this particularly dark chapter of his life, Jones was arrested for DUI and experienced several run-ins with the law.
In 1983, Jones wound up in a straight jacket at Hillcrest Psychiatric Hospital after having a mental breakdown. He then stopped drinking for a few years after getting married to Nancy Sepulveda, but he ended up relapsing in the 90s resulting in a car accident. He later claimed that that accident was what finally convinced him to get sober for good.
In 2012, George Jones was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. A year later, he passed away at the age of 81.
Reba may just be one of the most iconic female country stars of her era. She’s known not only for her music but also for her infectious sense of humor, cheery disposition, and heartwarming smile, but behind that bright, bubbly image lies a tragedy. On March 16, 1991, while touring promoting her album Rumor Has It, McEntire lost eight members of her band as well as her manager, pilot, and co-pilot in a plane crash near San Diego.
Fortunately, McEntire and her husband were not on that ill-fated flight that crashed due to extremely poor visibility only moments after taking off at the airport. McEntire proceeded to dedicate her 16rh album, For My Broken Heart, to the poor souls that lost their lives on that doomed flight.
Loretta Lynn is without a doubt, one of the most legendary country music singers of all time, and she has overcome so much both in the music industry and in her personal life as she has outlived two out of six of her children.
In 1984, her second child and oldest son, Jack Benny died at the young age of 34. Jack had gone out for a ride on his horse on the family ranch when he tried to ford the Duck River. Sadly, the current was much too strong and Jack drowned.
At the time of his death, Lynn had been discovered to be unconscious in her home and was taken to the hospital and treated for exhaustion, which meant that she wasn’t immediately told about her son’s death. When she learned what happened to he beloved boy, she was beyond devastated.
On July 29, 2013, Lynn lost another child, her eldest Betty Sue, who passed away at the age of 64 from emphysema.
Very few artists have contributed as much to the realm of country music as George Strait has. In fact, that’s precisely why he’s earned himself the nickname of The King Of Country. Yet, in the middle of his career, Strait had to cope with an unthinkable tragedy.
On June 25, 1986, Strait’s daughter Jenifer was killed in a car crash in San Marcos, Texas. Even worse is the fact that she was just 13-years-old when she passed. In her memory, Strait and his wife started the Jenifer Lynn Strait Foundation, which raises money for several children’s charities in San Antonio.
Country’s First Black Superstar, Charley Pride, Died Of COVID-19
Charley Pride took the country music world by storm between the 60 through the 80s with songs like Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone, Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’, and All I Have to Offer You Is Me.
Pride’s father was a sharecropper, and when he was young Charley picked cotton to save money for his first guitar. In 1971, he was named the Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year and Received the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
On December 12, 2020, at the age of 86, Pride died of complications from COVID-19. He was admitted to the hospital in November and perished just a few weeks later. His death was a huge blow to the country music community. In statements put out by Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, and Dolly Parton each country star expressed how influential he was as a musician while also highlighting how wonderful of a man he was.
Tammy Wynette Lied About Being Abducted To Cover Up Her Husband’s Abuse
Tammy Wynette was out shopping with her daughter on October 4, 1978, when she claimed that she was kidnapped from a parking lot in Nashville. Wynette told authorities that her assailant was an armed, masked man who was waiting for her in the backseat of her car and ordered her to drive. He then supposedly strangled her with a pair of pantyhose and punched her before abandoning her in a town some 80 miles away. A month after the alleged kidnapping, Wynette told reporters that the event was the most terrifying experience of her life and that she had suffered a broken cheekbone and several bruises and lacerations.
During the investigation, however, the police were perplexed by the fact that the incident didn’t involve sexual assault nor were her credits cards or cash stolen. Beyond that, they couldn’t seem to pin down a motive for the kidnapping.
Over two decades later, Wynette’s daughter, Jackie Daly revealed in her memoir that her mother fabricated the incident to hide the abuse that she endured from her fifth husband, George Richey. While Richey denied those allegations, Tamala Georgette backed up her sister’s claims that Richey had beat their mother.
According to Georgette’s 2011 memoir, Richey threatened to destroy her mother’s life and write a tell-all book revealing all of her secrets if she didn’t keep her mouth shut about the abuse, so she decided to stay with him and he proceeded to concoct the kidnapping story for public relations purposes.
Unfortunately, we’ve just about run out of time for this video, but in the comments section below let us know which country music star’s tragic story stands out the most to you. And before you go, take a moment to show us a little bit of support by giving this video a like and by subscribing to Facts Verse. Tap the bell to turn on notifications. That way you can be one of the first to watch all of our latest videos as soon as they hit the web.