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Music / Buck Owens

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Alvis Edgar "Buck" Owens Jr. (August 12, 1929 – March 25, 2006) was an American Country Music singer and songwriter. Owens was a pioneer of the "Bakersfield sound", an electric guitar-driven Three Chords and the Truth style, often relying on his band, the Buckaroos. The "Bakersfield sound" was later seen in artists like Merle Haggard (who later married Owens' ex-wife, Bonnie Campbell) and Dwight Yoakam. Frequent collaborators included Susan Raye, Rose Maddox, and son Buddy Alan.

Owens was also the host of the long-running country music comedy show Hee Haw. Lesser known but having a cult following was Owens' previous series, "The Ranch," which ran from 1966-1973, the last four of which ran concurrently with Hee Haw.

Tropes present in Buck's work:

  • Big Applesauce: "I Wouldn't Live in New York City (If They Gave Me The Whole Dang Town)"
  • Bland-Name Product: His 1977 single "The World Famous Holiday Inn" had to be pulled and re-recorded as "The World Famous Paradise Inn" when radio stations who had rival hotel chains like Ramada Inn as advertising clients refused to play the song (which is kind of funny since the song, about a guy living in a hotel after his wife kicked him out, doesn't exactly paint Holiday Inn in a favorable light).
  • Christmas Songs: He released two full-length Christmas albums, in 1965 and 1968. "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy", from the former, is one of the most recognizable and most covered in the genre.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: One of his first singles ("Hot Dog" in 1956) was a Rockabilly song, released under the name Corky Jones.
  • Fan Flattering: "It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)".
  • Five Stages of Grief: Don Rich was the man that helped Buck perfect his trademark Bakersfield Sound and served as the leader of the Buckaroos, which backed Buck throughout his career. He was Buck's best friend. On July 17, 1974, Don lost his life in a motorcycle accident ... and Buck's life changed for many years. For almost a decade, Buck was stuck in the first stage — deep, deep denial — and it barely got to the third (anger and deep depression). It very nearly destroyed his career ... Buck seemed content with his other close friend, Roy Clark, doing Hee Haw while recording music that was anything but the country music fans knew him for. Buck eventually recovered from his grief when Dwight Yoakam came along, but things were never the same for the originator of the Bakersfield Sound.
  • Instrumentals: Several. "Buckaroo" is the only instrumental to ever hit #1 on the country chart.
  • Let's Duet: He had hit duets with Rose Maddox, his son Buddy Alan, and his protégé Susan Raye, then much later on did superstar duets with Dwight Yoakam and Ringo Starr.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: "Made in Japan", where an American in Tokyo falls for a local woman but Did Not Get the Girl because "she was promised to another man."
  • Monster Mash: "(It's a) Monsters' Holiday".
  • Re-release the Song: In 1989, he re-recorded "Act Naturally" as a duet with Ringo Starr, followed immediately by a re-recording of his 1965 hit "Gonna Have Love". Around that time he also did a new version of his early Rockabilly tune "Hot Dog".
  • Self-Deprecation: "You Aint Gonna Have Ol' Buck to Kick Around No More" in 1973.
  • Spiritual Successor: Dwight Yoakam, to Don Rich. He helped restore Buck to his old vitality and self, and gave him renewed purpose.
  • Southern Gothic Satan: "Tall Dark Stranger", which was the Trope Namer before the change to its actual name.
    They say a tall, dark stranger is a demon
    And a devil rides closely by his side
  • Subdued Section: "Before You Go" alternates between an uptempo 4/4 verse and a slower waltz-time chorus.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: "Sweet Rosie Jones" and its sequel "Tall Dark Stranger".
  • Vocal Evolution: His delivery became very slurred after he had throat cancer removed in 1993.