Saturday, March 09, 2013

Country Crossover Singer Claude King Has Passed Away

Country crossover star Claude King, best-remembered for his #6 pop hit, "Wolverton Mountain" in 1962, was found dead at his Shreveport, Louisiana home Thursday morning (March 7) . He was 90. 

Like fellow singer Jim Reeves, Claude was offered a baseball scholarship before settling in on a singing career with the "Louisiana Hayride" radio and TV programs out of Shreveport in the '50s. However, it wasn't until 1961 that he received a contract with Columbia Records. "Big River, Big Man" was the first of 30 country hits (it climbed to #7 country) and also managed to come in at #82 on the pop charts. It was followed by "The Commancheros" (#71-1961) before Claude recorded his biggest hit "Wolverton Mountain." Co-written with Merle Kilgore, it was inspired by an actual location in Arkansas and the real Clifton Clowers, who died in 1994 at age 102. The follow-up, "The Burning Of Atlanta," made #53 pop in 1962. Though his final country appearance was in 1977, Claude also worked as an actor, including the 1982CBS-TV mini-series, "The Blue And The Gray."