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Old 09-17-2014, 10:40 PM   #1
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Default George Hamilton IV has passed away

Saw the news on Carlene Carter's Facebook post. Lightfoot followers will know him for having recorded some of Gord's tunes.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: George Hamilton IV has passed away

NASHVILLE George Hamilton IV, the 50-year "Grand Ole Opry" star known as the "International Ambassador of Country Music," died Wednesday at a Nashville hospital. Hamilton was 77 and had suffered a heart attack Saturday.

In a business populated by brash and outlandish stars, Hamilton traded on subtlety, gentility and decency. In the liner notes of his 1968 RCA album, "The Gentle Country Sound of George Hamilton IV," he wrote of a "quiet, beautiful musical revolution in the world of country music."

"This revolutionary grew up in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, went to college for four years, doesn't dig saloons and is happily married," he wrote. "Do I have to sing honky-tonk songs about slippin' around and wear a rhinestone-studded cowboy suit to be real?"

Hamilton burst onto the national music scene in 1956 with the million-selling "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," a John Loudermilk-penned song that rose to No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard Top 100 chart. He scored two more Top 40 hits before becoming what "Definitive Country" encyclopedia contributor Lesley-Anne Peake called "the first pop artist to switch to country."

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"This was a radical move for an established pop singer, at a time when rock 'n' roll was at its height and many country stars were trying to 'go pop,'" Peake wrote.

For Hamilton, his 1959 entry into country music was a natural transition. He grew up in North Carolina, listening to "Opry" stars Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Jimmy Dickens and Eddy Arnold. He joined the "Opry" himself in February 1960, and Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Victor as a country artist. He notched his first Top 10 country hit in 1960, with "Before This Day Ends," and repeated that success with "Three Steps to the Phone (Millions of Miles)" and "If You Don't Know I Ain't Gonna Tell You." But his biggest hit came in 1963, with "Abilene," a loping tribute to a Kansas town and a four-week No. 1 country single.

Hamilton became infatuated with folk singer-songwriters, and in 1965 he became the first American recording artist to record a hit written by poetic Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. His 1966 "Steel Rail Blues" album featured songs penned by folk-leaning writers Lightfoot, Phil Ochs and John Hartford, and Hamilton became the most popular country music singer in Canada. He hosted a Canadian television show for six years and he recorded albums that crossed genres and borders. His 1967 version of "Urge For Going" also made him the first artist to record a song written by Joni Mitchell.

George Hamilton IV, who gave up popular music for the "Grand Ole Opry," thoughtfully studies a song he will present at East High School's talent show on April 13, 1961. Hamilton will be one of the guest stars at The Nashville Tennessean-sponsored talent hunt.George Hamilton IV, who gave up popular music for the "Grand Ole Opry," thoughtfully studies a song he will present at East High School's talent show on April 13, 1961. Hamilton will be one of the guest stars at The Nashville Tennessean-sponsored talent hunt.

"George is a student and a good listener," Gordon Lightfoot told Deke Dickerson, in a conversation recounted in the liner notes to the three-disc Bear Family Records collection "George Hamilton IV: My North Country Home." "He's just a kind, generous person. I just love the way that George did all my songs."

Hamilton was the rare country star to actively support progressive politicians in the 1960s, and his abiding Christian faith led was the bedrock of his belief in civil rights and racial equality. In 1968, he and wife Tink attended Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy's speech at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym. Kennedy was late for the speech, and event organizer John Seigenthaler asked Mr. Hamilton to entertain the assembled crowd.

"He said, 'Well, it just happens I have my guitar in my trunk,'" Seigenthaler told a Vanderbilt Hustler reporter. Hamilton played for 45 minutes, and he considered "opening" for Kennedy a highlight of his musical career.

Hamilton's relaxed, literate songs took him across the world. He toured extensively in Europe and studied the European roots of Nashville-based country music.

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"This music we call American country music had its cradle days in the British Isles," he told The Tennessean in 2012. "It had its childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it came of age in Nashville."

Hamilton played a starring role in London's "International Festival of Country Music" in 1969, and he and Bill Anderson helped persuade the Country Music Association to present a Nashville version of that International Festival: The music city festival came to be known as Fan Fair and is now branded as the CMA Music Festival, Nashville's signature event. Hamilton also hosted numerous BBC television series.

In 1973, Hamilton completed what Peake wrote was the "longest international concert tour in country music," performing 73 shows in three months. And in 1974, Hamilton became the first country artist to perform behind the Iron Curtain, playing in Czechoslovakia and in Russia. In the latter country, he lectured on the history of country music.

Hamilton left the "Opry" for five years, beginning in 1971, and by the time of his 1976 return he was known as country music's "International Ambassador." He was a passionate advocate for country music, and for his deeply held faith, frequently performing as part of Dr. Billy Graham's Christian crusades.

Hamilton's final Top 40 country hit came in 1973, but he remained vital as a touring artist and "Grand Ole Opry" attraction for the remainder of his years. In the new century, he often gave backstage tours at the Opry, providing visitors with firsthand stories about long-gone "Opry" stars Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb.

"It's been a real honor to have been associated with the Opry for this period of time," he said in an official biography. "It's been my musical homeplace which I first started visiting as a teenager. Back then, I would regularly catch a Greyhound bus from North Carolina and dream of performing on the Opry."
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: George Hamilton IV has passed away

My North Country Home (3-CD DigiPac)
3-CD DigiPac with 68-page booklet, 82 tracks, playing time 242:42.

A 3-CD collection of Canadian-penned material, by the most famous Canadian songwriters - Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Ray Griff, Buffy St. Marie, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Dick Damron, Gene MacLellan, and others. George Hamilton IV recorded 16 Gordon Lightfoot songs - more than any other artist in history. All are found on this collection. Contains all of George Hamilton IV's 'country-folk' era material from 1965-1975, showcasing his fascination for 'Canadiana'. An essential collection for George Hamilton IV fans, and collectors of Canadian country music.

George Hamilton IV will always be known as the 'International Ambassador Of Country Music.' The perennial Grand Ole Opry star has been in the limelight since his first hit 'A Rose And A Baby Ruth' in 1956. After George's biggest hit, 'Abilene', in 1963, he began recording in a folkier style, what he called 'songs that had story lines, painted pictures and, most importantly, songs that said something.' When he heard Gordon Lightfoot on the radio while touring Canada, he focused his attention on a crop of up-and-coming singer/songwriters from North of the Border. Soon George was recording 'folk-country' songs by Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Ray Griff, Ian Tyson, and many of Canada's brightest young songwriters (many of whom would go on to huge solo careers). George became immensely popular in Canada, and had his own television show broadcast out of Hamilton, Ontario. Between 1965 and 1975, George Hamilton IV recorded six albums of all-Canadian music (some of which were only released in Canada). This collection is the first time that these Canadian songs by Hamilton have ever been compiled, and will excite many of George's fans who have never heard this great material. As George puts it: 'I really do feel like the Canadian songwriters lifted country music out of just the cheating and drinking songs, and caused the music to become more appealing to city kids, and people outside of America'.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: George Hamilton IV has passed away

LIGHTFOOT COUNTRY 1968 - the first tribute album to Gord - I owned it before I owned any Gord he followed up in 1977 with SONGS FOR A WINTER'S NIGHT collection

corfid = Lightfoot Country . thanks George, rest in peace
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: George Hamilton IV has passed away

I was just stopping in and saw this. That is sad.

On my birrthday in June 1980,my mother got my four record albums and one of them was called "History Of Rock And Roll : The 1950s" and George's song "A Rose And A baby Ruth" was one of the tracks.

I found it a very interesting song at the time that boy would give a girl a flower and a candy bar,to say I love you. The bigger thing is,at age 12,I heard an artist who is now most likely considerd "classic".

RIP Mr. Hamilton
"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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