Inductee Biography for BUCK OWENS

Buck OwensBorn to a Texas Sharecropper and his wife Alvis Edgar “Buck” Owens grew up in poverty and hated every minute of it. In 1937 the Owen’s family joined the parade of Okies and Texans westward bound in the “Grapes of Wrath” dustbowl migration hoping to see California and better times through their windshield. When their homemade trailer hitch broke outside of Phoenix the family settled near relatives in Mesa to carve out a living in the cotton fields and citrus groves. One Christmas his family gave him a guitar and he quickly learned that instrument and others. At 15 he had his own local radio show over a Mesa station and played several dancehalls in central Arizona. Some nights he would play gigs with another local Phoenix singer named Marty Robbins.

In 1951 young Buck moved to Bakersfield, California where he found a thriving country music scene at several honky tonks. Playing a club called the Blackboard Owens would also supplement his income as a studio musician in Los Angeles with Capitol records. Buck developed his own twisted note guitar style and helped carry on the BAKERSFIELD SOUND that rivaled the country music from Nashville. He started having hits of his own by the early 60’s and would become one of the legends of country music with 25 number one records and 26 Top ten hits in his career. He co-hosted the tv show HEE HAW for 18 years and was an astute businessman who owned a publishing company, a booking agency, recording studio, land, print publications and radio stations including the legendary country station KNIX in Phoenix which he owned for 30 years. Buck has had his music covered by people like RAY CHARLES, PATSY CLINE and THE BEATLES. Buck Owens is in the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville and owned the huge Crystal Palace nightclub in Bakersfield. Owens passed away after performing at his club in March of 2006 at age 76.

(bio by Jim West)

Buck Owens web site