Susan Raye

click here to see a photo of a young Susan Raye

While I was working on the Buckaroos page, I noticed that Susan Raye was absent from the cast list.  That is a huge oversight on my part!!!  I started to create a page for her, and then I realized that I had a page on the website, I just didn't have it linked to the cast page!  Yet another huge oversight on my part!

So...here you are, Susan Raye fans.  Thanks to Buddy Davis for helping me with the information!!! 

Susan was born in Eugene, Oregon on October 8, 1944.  She entered many singing contests during her teenage years, and the grand prize for one of those contests landed her a job as a local disc jockey for a radio station in Portland, Oregon.
 
Though she sang pop music and didn't do country at all at the time, it was through one of those contests, that she met Buck Owens in 1967.  Buck and his manager, Jack McFadden, were impressed to say the least, and gave her advice about starting a career.  Because she was only 23, both men agreed that she was still too young and inexperienced to handle the hectic life on the road.  Susan agreed, too.
 
Buck kept in touch with Susan, and over time, he decided it would be a good career move to get a "girl singer," like other singers of the time had done.  Bill Anderson sang with Jan Howard.  Porter Wagoner had Pretty Miss Norma Jean, followed by Dolly Parton on his show.  George Jones and Tammy Wynette performed together, as did Johnny Cash and June Carter.  So, Buck decided to ask Susan to record with him in December, 1968.  The song was "We're Gonna Get Together."  Buck held on to the recording for over a year before releasing it as a single, because he wanted Susan to have a single of her own first.  She recorded "Maybe If I Close My Eyes (It Will Go Away)" in the fall of 1969. 
 
 Buck gave Susan the opportunity to appear on "Hee Haw," which gave her much-needed exposure to launch her career.  She quickly became a fan favorite, with her clean, fresh good looks and clear feminine voice.  "Hee Haw" allowed Susan to feature some of her biggest hits, including two smashes--"L.A. International Airport" and "Pitty, Pitty Patter." She became a very successful recording artist in her own right, with dozens of chart hits. Audiences loved her.
 
Between 1970 and 1973, Susan and Buck recorded four duet albums together, including a Christmas LP.  She also recorded 14 solo albums between 1970 and 1975, backed by Don Rich and the Buckaroos.   She got to see the world with Buck's show. In 1974, they began a worldwide tour and perfomed in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.  
 
Susan wanted people to hear her talent, not focus on her good looks. She cringed at being called "the lovely Susan Raye." 
 
Performing with the Buckaroos not only helped Susan build a singing career, but introduced her to the man who would become her husband.  Susan married Buckaroo drummer Jerry Wiggins in October 1971. At that time, he was the only single member of the band.  
 
In 1978, Susan and Jerry stepped out of the limelight and entered a quiet, private life of raising their six children.  At the age of 40, she went back to college and became a family counselor.  She recorded a little in the 1980's, but since then, she's been back to quiet family life.
 
Sources for this page include Buddy Davis, longtime fan; The Academy of Country Music's Century of Country page; and The Bakersfield Californian's Bakersfield Sound! series from 1997.
 
Click here to see a photo of Susan Raye post-Hee Haw, taken by Ron Newcomer.

E-mail me if you know of more to include in this space!

 Click here to go back to the Hee Haw Tribute Page!

Click here to go back to the cast page