Personalities | Harlan Howard | West Coast Scene | Country

(Songwriter, vocals, guitar, 1929–2002)

Harlan Howard, inspired by Ernest Tubb, first began reaping his songwriting rewards in the late 1950s. ‘Pick Me Up On Your Way Down’ (1958) was his first hit when recorded by Charlie Walker, followed by ‘Heartaches By The Number’ (1959), which covered country and pop by Ray Price and Guy Mitchell respectively. More huge successes came with ‘I Fall To Pieces’ (Patsy Cline, 1961), ‘Busted’ (1963, Johnny Cash and, later, Ray Charles) and ‘I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail’ (Buck Owens, 1965) and, by the mid-1960s, he had exited the West Coast and moved to Nashville, where his compositions quickly became much sought-after. The archetypal country songwriter, Howard had over 4,000 titles to his name and although he slowed down in the 1980s, he continued to create top hits, like The Judds’ ‘Why Not Me’ (1984) and Patty Loveless’ ‘Blame It On Your Heart’ (1993). Much beloved, Nashville honoured him with annual ‘Harlan Howard Birthday Bash’ celebrations during his final years.

Styles & Forms | West Coast Scene | Country
Personalities | Ferlin Husky | West Coast Scene | Country

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen


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