Johnny Horton life and biography

Johnny Horton picture, image, poster

Johnny Horton biography

Date of birth : 1925-04-30
Date of death : 1960-11-05
Birthplace : Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-04-16
Credited as : American country singer, Country and folk music, Saga songs/North to Alaska

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John Gale Horton, known professionally as Johnny Horton, was an American country music singer who was most famous for his semi-folk, so-called "saga songs" which launched the "historical ballad" craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Johnny Horton was a country singer who also topped the pop charts with hits like North to Alaska and The Battle of New Orleans. Horton first found an audience in the early 1950s as a regular peformer on The Louisiana Hayride, a radio show broadcast nationally from Shreveport, Louisiana. His hit singles crossed over to the pop charts in 1959 and 1960 and he became a national name. Known especially for "historical saga" songs, including "Johnny Reb" and "Sink the Bismarck," he is considered a pioneer of rockabilly music, a blend of honky tonk country with elements of rock and roll. His songs include "When It's Springtime in Alaska," "I'm A One-Woman Man" and "Honky Tonk Man." He was killed in an automobile accident in 1960, just after performing at the Skyline Club outside of Austin, Texas. The tragedy of his early death (he was 35) has since been complemented with a touch of the eerie. Not only are there rumors that Horton had predicted his untimely death, there's also the odd coincidence that his widow, Billie Jean Jones, was also the widow of Hank Williams, the country star who died in 1953 -- also in a car (from a heart attack).

Extra : Horton was born in California to a family of Texas migrant workers and farmers; he was raised mostly in Texas. Horton's hit "North to Alaska" came from the 1960 movie of the same name, starring John Wayne and Ernie Kovacs. His love for fishing earned him the nickname "The Singing Fisherman". George Jones's version of "I'm a One-Woman Man" was a hit in 1989.

Horton had several major crossover hits, most notably in 1959 with "The Battle of New Orleans" which won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. The song won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award and in 2001 was named number 333 of the Songs of the Century. In 1960, Horton had two other crossover hits with "North to Alaska," in John Wayne's hit film, North to Alaska; and "Sink the Bismarck". Horton was also a rockabilly singer, and was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

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