Buck Owens Part Five
Today I’m closing two series of blogs, One Legendary Bo Diddley, and now number Two Buck Owens. This is farewell to Buck Owens for awhile, in Buck Owens Part Five, I want you to know, that closing a blog series is truly death to me, but I will open it up again when I find something new about them. being that theirs five blogs of Buck Owens, that means five albums, so you can always come back for that. Without further ado, here’s Buck Owens Part Five, please enjoy.
Buck Owens died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack on March 25, 2006, only hours after performing at his Crystal Palace restaurant, club and museum in Bakersfield. He had successfully recovered from oral cancer in the early 1990s, but had additional health problems near the end of the 1990s and the early 2000s, including pneumonia and a minor stroke suffered in 2004. These health problems had forced him to curtail his regular weekly performances with the Buckaroos at his Crystal Palace.
The Los Angeles Times interviewed longtime Owens spokesman (and Buckaroos keyboard player) Jim Shaw, who said Owens “had come to the club early and had a chicken fried steak dinner and bragged that it’s his favorite meal.” Afterward, Owens told band members that he wasn’t feeling well and was going to skip that night’s performance. Shaw said a group of fans introduced themselves while Owens was preparing to drive home; when they told him that they had traveled from Oregon to hear him perform, Owens changed his mind and took the stage anyway.
Shaw recalled Owens telling the audience, “If somebody’s come all that way, I’m gonna do the show and give it my best shot. I might groan and squeak, but I’ll see what I can do.” Shaw added, “So, he had his favorite meal, played a show and died in his sleep. We thought, that’s not too bad.”
Owens was married four times, three ending in divorce and one in annulment. He and his first wife, country singer Bonnie Campbell Owens, were married in 1948 and had two sons. They separated in 1951 and later divorced.
He later married Phyllis Buford in 1956, with whom he had a third son. His third marriage, in 1977, was to fiddle player Jana Jae Greif, who was a member of the Buckaroos. They were married for only a few days before he filed for annulment. His fourth marriage, in 1979, was to Jennifer Smith.
Owens had three sons: Buddy Alan (who charted several hits as a Capitol recording artist in the early 1970s and appeared with his father numerous times on Hee Haw), Johnny, and Michael Owens.
In November 2013, Buck Owens’ posthumous autobiography, “Buck ‘Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens” by Buck Owens with Randy Poe, was released. The book has a foreword by Brad Paisley and a preface by Dwight Yoakam.
In her 2010 book, Buck Owens: The Biography, investigative journalist Eileen Sisk offers a critical account of Owens and the shortcomings in his private life.
In her 2007 authorized biography, Buck, historian Kathryn Burke gives a positive account of Owens.
People who have covered Owens songs
▪Vocalist–guitarist Johnny Rivers performed a rock version of Owens’s “Under Your Spell Again”, for his album Meanwhile Back at the Whiskey A GoGo, in 1965.
▪Country music singer Emmylou Harris recorded a version of Owens’s “Together Again”, which was released on her 1976 album Elite Hotel.
▪The Beatles and, later, Ringo Starr recorded versions of “Act Naturally”. The Beatles recorded the song in 1965, two years after Owens released it. Starr recorded it as a duet with Owens which received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Collaboration in 1989.
▪After his death in 2006, a medley was played by the Buck Owens All Star Tribute, which included Billy Gibbons, Chris Hillman, Brad Paisley and Travis Barker.
▪Country artist Dwight Yoakam has cited Owens as an early influence in his career, and recorded several of Owens’s songs for himself. He was also collaborator and duet artist with Owens on the song “Streets of Bakersfield”, originally recorded by Owens in 1973. In 2007, Yoakam released a tribute album, Dwight Sings Buck.
▪Mark Lanegan included a cover of “Together Again” on his 1999 cover album, I’ll Take Care of You.
▪Cake covered “Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got a Heartache)” on its album B-Sides and Rarities.
▪In 2007, Austin-San Marcos, Texas band The Derailers released Under The Influence of Buck, which featured 12 covers of Owens songs, including “Under the Influence of Love”.
▪In 2011, Ben Gibbard covered “Love’s Gonna Live Here”.
▪In 2011, German punk-rock band Broilers released the Loco Hasta La Muerte EP collection, which includes a recorded version of “Cigarettes & Whiskey”. The band, whose own songs are all in German language, occasionally performs the song live too.
▪In 2011, country singer and songwriter Brad Paisley covered “Tiger by The Tail” for his studio album, “This is Country Music”. Brad and Buck had a close relationship and would often talk about guitars or Don Rich together, until Buck passed away. Brad was invited to play with Buck on New Year’s Eve at the Crystal Palace in 2002.