Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 14 June '17, Alba TX; d 11 Sep. '69) Smooth-voiced country singer, multi-instrumentalist; greatest success as songwriter. Blind since childhood, learned to play guitar, keyboards, trombone at Texas State School for the Blind at Austin '24-35, worked with various Texas bands incl. Bob Wills on Radio KWET in Palestine TX '35-6. Began recording for Bluebird, had hits "Ten Thousand Tomorrows' '40, "Cry Baby Heart' '44, "Cheaters Never Win' '45, "Lifetime To Regret' '48; began writing early and created country classics "Lost Highway', "They'll Never Take Her Love', "I Heard My Heart Break Last Night', "The Blue Side Of Lonesome' and "I Love You Because', his biggest hit: no. 4 country chart '49 on Capitol, recorded '54 by Elvis Presley for Sun, revived '63 for hits by Jim Reeves, Al Martino. A member of Jack Rhodes Rhythm Boys '48-9, worked the Louisiana Hayride; after the big hit formed his own Lone Star Buddies, joined Grand Ole Opry. Recorded for MGM, Bullet, Capitol, Decca labels '50s, toured the South, based mainly in San Antonio; recorded for Starday early '60s, suffered heart attack '65 and had to quit performing, but carried on writing: co-wrote hits "Take Me' and "Things Have Gone To Pieces' with George Jones.