Thursday, November 15, 2018

Roy Clark

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Sad news today...

Roy Clark, a Country Music Hall of Fame member celebrated equally for his sense of humor and his instrumental wizardry, has died. He was 85.

Apart from his long string of country hits (1963-1989), Clark was a major television personality, both as co-host with Buck Owens of the Hee Haw music and comedy series (1969-1994) and as a frequent guest and substitute host on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. 

In 1969, he signed on to co-host the short-lived CBS TV variety show, Hee Haw. Of course, that show transformed itself into the long-running series which lasted until 1994. Clark won additional fame on Hee Haw as a member of the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet, an ensemble that also featured Owens, Grandpa Jones and Kenny Price. 

The music industry awarded Clark lavishly. The Country Music Association alone conferred upon him seven major trophies, among them entertainer, comedian and musician of the year. In 1982, he won the best country instrumental Grammy for his recording of “Alabama Jubilee.” 

As a philanthropist, Clark made major contributions to such institutions as Children’s Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., and the Hollenbeck Youth Center in Los Angeles. He is also is memorialized in the Roy Clark Emergency Treatment Center in Farmville, Va., and the Roy Clark Wing of St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

I remember watching Hee Haw with my parents growing up and can, to this day, still remember many of the silly bits, songs ("Gloom, dispair and agony on me...") and skits. I didn't realize it ran for 25 years. Pretty amazing for a show of that kind.

He will be missed, but very fondly remembered.

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