2015 has been a huge year for country music. It has also been a sad one.
This year the country community has discovered rising stars and memorable songs that became instant classics. But while there is a lot to be celebrated this year, the country music family has had reason to mourn as well.
Country music has lost legendary singers, songwriters, and family members.
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by their passing, and we will remember them by their beautiful spirits, music, and happiness they have brought to the world.
Photo credit: PatsyClineHTA.com
Charlie Dick, the widower of country legend Patsy Cline died in his sleep on November 8th at the age of 81. They married in 1957 and remained married until her death in 1963. After Cline's death, Dick played a pivotal role in keeping his wife’s legacy alive by overseeing a pair of documentaries on Patsy’s life and promoting her albums for years afterward.
Photo credit: Jerry Overeast via Don Chapel Facebook
Don Chapel was a songwriter known for penning many songs for Conway Twitty, Ernest Tubb, and Lynn Anderson. He was Tammy Wynette's second husband. According to his son's Facebook post on December 6th, Chapel passed away from "a long battle with heart failure and pneumonia." His most well-known song is "When The Grass Grows Over Me" by George Jones, who happens to be Wynette's third husband.
Photo credit: Twitter vis Wide Open Country
Ted Harris was a Nashville songwriter known for writing over 120 songs. Glen Campbell, Conway Twitty, and Waylon Jennings were just a few to sing his songs. He is the most-awarded songwriter in the history of the performing arts organization SESAC, with 87 awards. Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame director Mark Ford announced that Harris had passed away on November 22nd at his home in Lewisburg, Tennessee. He was 78.
Photo credit: htbackdrops.org
Billy Joe Royal's most famous song is "Down In The Boondocks", which became a hit in 1965. He switched from pop to country in the eighties and released a few top ten hits like "Tell It Like It Is" and "Burned Like A Rocket". He passed away October 7th at 73.
Photo credit: The Tennessean
James "Spider" Wilson was one of the most sought-after guitarists at the Grand Ole Opry during his six-decade career. He rose to stardom playing backup for Little Jimmy Dickens as a teenager, and was known for his electrifying guitar licks and memorable solos. He has backed Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, and many others on their records. He was nicknamed Spider for his tall and lanky frame. He passed away at age 79.
Photo credit: Michael Ochs
Singer-songwriter Tommy Overstreet made waves in Nashville throughout the 1970s and 80s with hits like "Heaven Is My Woman's Love" and "Gwen (Congratulations)", and "I Don't Know You Anymore." He made frequent guest appearances on the TV variety show Hee Haw. Overstreet passed away November 2nd at his home in Oregon. He had been suffering from multiple ailments over the last several years. He was 78.
Photo credit: Grand Ole Opry Photo Archives via musicstartshere.com
Ramona Jones was a talented singer and fiddler, most known for her musical partnership and marriage to "Grandpa" Jones. They performed on Hee Haw for 25 years and were known for their hilarious "Cowbell" routines, where Grandpa would wear bells on his feet while they played a song. She passed away on November 17th at the age of 91.
Photo credit: Pete Mroz via thenashvillebridge.com
James Edward "Jim Ed" Brown was a member of The Browns, a band he formed in the 1950s with his sisters Maxine and Bonnie. He broke away from the trio in the 60s to begin his solo career. His major hits were "Pop A Top", "Southern Living" and "I Don't Have To Marry You." He was a Grand Ole Opry member and was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was announced in September 2014 that he was diagnosed with lung cancer and by early 2015 he was in remission. On June 3, 2015, he announced the cancer had returned. He passed away a week later at age 81.
Photo credit: cmt.com
Lynn Anderson's death happened just a week after she was interviewed on blogtalkradio.com. She spoke of projects she was working on, and was eager to release. She even admitted she hopes to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Anderson is most famous for her hit song "Rose Garden." She suffered a heart attack on July 30th in Nashville at 67-years-old.
Photo credit: Chris Hollo, Hollo Photography via usatoday.com
Longtime and beloved Grand Ole Opry Star "Little" Jimmy Dickens was known for his small stature (he stood at 4 feet, eleven inches), his humorous songs, and his rhinestone studded outfits. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983 and produced hits like "The Violet and the Rose" and "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose". He suffered a stroke last Christmas and was hospitalized days after his last appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on his 94th birthday. He died of cardiac arrest on January 2, 2015.
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