Rissy's Hee Haw Tribute Page mourns the loss of Buck Owens on March 25, 2006.

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"Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when his (Don's) did.  Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever.  But I'll see him over there." - Buck Owens, October 2000

Finally, he and Don are "together again."

Buck Owens

August 12, 1929 - March 25, 2006

Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. was born August 12, 1929 in Sherman, Texas, the second of four children born to Alvis and Maicie Owens. As a preschooler, the lad announced that his name was Buck, just like the family mule. His mother played piano and exposed her children to music at a very young age.

His family migrated west in 1937 to find work. The Depression and Dust Bowl years had been devastating to the sharecropping family. They settled in Mesa, Arizona, near Phoenix, after their trailer hitch broke, and traveled to the fertile San Joaquin valley in California to find extra work.

As a teenager, Buck dreamed of a more comfortable life. He was too young to go to war in 1942, but because so many men were in uniform, he had no trouble finding work. He taught himself how to play mandolin and guitar, and quickly learned that he could make more money playing guitar and singing in nightclubs than he could in the hot fields.

He got into radio and began performing with some of his fellow DJ's. He met a young singer named Bonnie Campbell, who was in a band with him, Mac's Skillet Lickers. Buck and Bonnie married in 1948. In 1951, they moved to Bakersfield, California, a haven for other Dust Bowl transplants. The rich country music scene there was fertile ground for Buck's growing career. The 1950's weren't all smooth and easy for the young couple, who divorced in 1953 but remained friends. Buck met Jack McFadden, who became his manager, during that time, as well as songwriters Tommy Collins and Harlan Howard.

In 1958, Buck moved to Puyallup, Washington, where he became involved in the operation of a radio station. Soon he was hosting his own live TV program in Tacoma, where he introduced the world to the songs of a young lady named Loretta Lynn. He also met a teenage fiddle player named Don Rich, who became his "right arm." Buck recorded ""Second Fiddle" in 1958, which reached #24 on the Billboard charts. His first top ten record came in 1959, "Under Your Spell Again."

Buck and Don became the nucleus of what was to be one of the best bands in country music history, the Buckaroos. In 1960, Buck moved his operation back to Bakersfield and from there his career took off like a rocket. For a time, Merle Haggard was part of Buck's band, and he coined the name Buckaroos. The sixties were indeed Buck's decade, with hits like, "Tiger By the Tail," "Together Again," "Above and Beyond," and "Tall Dark Stranger."" Even the Beatles recorded one of their songs, ""Act Naturally."

Their sound was totally different from The Nashville Sound popular at that time. They recorded most of their material in California. However, their appeal was worldwide. They toured around the world, even recording an album in Japan.

""Hee Haw" came along when Buck was on top of the world. The television exposure introduced many more fans to his music, though it changed his public image from a country music powerhouse to more of a comedian.

Tragically, in 1974, Don Rich was killed in a motorcycle crash near San Luis Obispo, California. Buck was devastated by the loss of his longtime bandmate and great friend and his music was forever affected. Other than his appearances on "Hee Haw," he rarely performed.

In 1986, Buck left "Hee Haw" at a time when many changes were taking place on the show. A year or so later, a young country singer named Dwight Yoakam brought Buck back to the limelight. Together, they recorded "The Streets of Bakersfield." Dwight was proud to claim Buck as one of his musical influences, and Buck was honored that so many people remembered his musical accomplishments.

Several years ago Buck Owens was treated for cancer of the larynx. The cancer along with a series of light strokes left him with a slightly raspier voice and mildly labored speech.  In 1996 he opened his own restaurant/museum in Bakersfield, Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. He and his Buckaroos performed there frequently. Buck was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997.

On the fortieth anniversary of the legendary Carnegie Hall Concert, Buck Owens passed away in his sleep on March 25, 2006 at his home in Bakersfield, California.  He is survived by three sons, "Buddy" Alan Owens, Mike Owens, and John Owens.

Links

Crystal Palace - see what's happening these days at the legendary nightclub Buck built, the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California. Here you can buy Buck Owens Ranch videos plus much, much more! In fact, almost the entire book from the CD Box Set is available on this site.

Buck Owensfan.com - includes interviews with former Buckaroos Doyle Holly, Willie Cantu, and current 'Roo Terry Christoffersen. This site has been down for awhile and is now back up. Before, it was an awesome fan site; hopefully soon the webmaster will have all the good material back on the site.

A great article about Buck Owens from Salon.com

a photo from the 70's from Mark & Pam Fisher's site

Click on the links below to go where you want to go!

Hee Haw page (home)

Hee Haw Cast Page

Hosts page

InnerState Circle Media

Copyright 2002, 2006 Rissy's Treasures