15 years ago today, in Bakersfield, CA country music lost the legendary Buck Owens.
Born in Texas, he eventually made his way out to California where he was a part of one of the more iconic sub-genres of Country Music.
The Bakersfield Sound, coming from the city name, was born in the mid 1950’s and carried on with artists like Buck and Merle Haggard. While giving the necessary credit to Wynn Stewart for being the pioneer, it’s hard not to gush over the impact that Buck had on that style of music.
As the frontman for “Buck Owens and the Buckaroos” he would have 21 number one hits over the course of his music career. His first of which, was actually a cover. “Act Naturally” a Johnny Russel song, was the number one song for four weeks and even sparked a Beatles cover in 1965.
I personally was introduced to the song, and Buck for that matter from this scene from Remember the Titans.
Selfishly, I think Buck in his later years is my favorite version of him. By the time the 1980s rolled around, he was taking a young artist by the name of Dwight Yoakam under his belt. Yoakam was heavily influenced by the Bakersfield Sound, and you can hear it in the instrumentation of his music.
Together, they recorded a duet of “Streets Of Bakersfield” in 1988 which happened to go to number one.
It was Owens’ first number one in 16 years at that point.
What a dynamic duo.
Even today, artists like Jon Pardiwho was born in California are clearly inspired by the likes of Buck Owens. Hats off to Mr. Owens for an outstanding and inspiring career.
Here’s Dwight Yoakam speaking of Buck and playing at his funeral, now 15 years ago.
And just because this is a fun one, here’s Merle Haggard impersonating Buck, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow and more, with a special appearance from Buck himself.