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Johnny Horton

Johnny Horton
Background information
Birth name John Gale Horton
Born April 30, 1925(1925-04-30)
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Died November 5, 1960 (aged 35)
Genres Country
Occupations Singer
Notable instruments
Guitar

John Gale Horton (April 30, 1925–November 5, 1960), known professionally as Johnny Horton, was an American country music singer who was most famous for his semi-folk, so-called "saga songs" which launched the "historical ballad" craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s. With them, he had several major crossover hits, most notably in 1959 with "The Battle of New Orleans" which won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. The song won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award and in 2001 was named number 333 of the Songs of the Century. In 1960, Horton had two other crossover hits with "North to Alaska," in John Wayne's hit film, North to Alaska; and "Sink the Bismarck". Horton was also a rockabilly singer, and was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Contents

Biography

Horton was born in Los Angeles to John and Claudia Horton, the youngest of five siblings but raised in the town of Rusk in East Texas. His family trekked back and forth from California often as migrant fruit pickers but always returned to the Rusk/Gallatin area in Texas. After graduation from Gallatin High School in 1944, he attended the Methodist-affiliated Lon Morris College (then called Lon Morris Junior College) in Jacksonville, Texas on a basketball scholarship. Although he did not graduate from college, he later attended Seattle University. He also briefly attended Baylor University as well.

Thereafter, he worked in California and Alaska. He returned to Texas and won a talent contest hosted by then-radio announcer Jim Reeves at the Reo Palm Isle club in Longview, the seat of Gregg County, and soon starred in the popular Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. He remained a Hayride member until his death.

Horton was married twice. His first marriage was to Donna Cook, which ended in a divorce granted in Rusk. In September 1953, he married Billie Jean Jones. Jones was the widow of country music star Hank Williams, to whom she had been married for the two and a half months prior to his death. With Billie Jean, Johnny had two daughters, Yanina (Nina) and Melody. Billie Jean's daughter, Jerry, was also part of the family.

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Death

Johnny Horton bench at Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton, Louisiana
The Johnny Horton grave marker
Another Horton grave inscription

On November 5, 1960, Horton was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver on Highway 79 at Milano, Texas while returning home from a performance at the Skyline Club in Austin. When Johnny Cash, who was a good friend of Horton's, learned about the accident he said, "[I] locked myself in one of the hotel's barrooms, and cried."[1] Cash also dedicated his rendition of "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)" to Horton on his album Personal File: "Johnny Horton was a good old friend of mine." He is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton, Louisiana (near Bossier City).

An unfounded rumor was that Horton was on his way to Dallas to meet actor Ward Bond on the night of the crash about a role on the NBC-TV series Wagon Train. Bond was attending a football game and died of a heart attack in Dallas hours after Horton died. A "Horton" did appear on Wagon Train – actor Robert Horton. One of Horton sisters confirmed that the Ward Bond story was true.

Horton is buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton east of Bossier City in northwestern Louisiana. He loved fishing as much, if not more, than singing and was once billed as "The Singing Fisherman." His favorite fishing holes were in the Piney Woods of East Texas and northern Louisiana. His other passion was spiritualism and he was devoted to the writings of Edgar Cayce.

Horton was posthumously inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday, Louisiana.

Discography

Albums

Year Single Chart Positions RIAA Label
US Country US
1959 The Spectacular Johnny Horton Columbia
1960 Johnny Horton Makes History
1961 Greatest Hits 8 Platinum
1962 Honky Tonk Man 104
1965 I Can't Forget You
1967 Johnny Horton On Stage 37
1968 The Unforgettable Johnny Horton
1970 On the Road
The Legendary Johnny Horton
1971 The Battle of New Orleans
The World

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1956 "Honky Tonk Man" 9 singles only
"I'm a One-Woman Man" 7
1957 "I'm Coming Home" 11
"The Woman I Need" 9
1958 "All Grown Up" 8
1959 "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)" 1 The Spectacular Johnny Horton
"The Battle of New Orleans" 1 1
"Johnny Reb" 10 54 Johnny Horton Makes History
"Sal's Got a Sugar Lip" 19 81 single only
1960 "Sink the Bismarck" 3 6 Johnny Horton Makes History
"Johnny Freedom" 69
"North to Alaska" 1 4 Greatest Hits
1961 "Sleepy-Eyed John" 9 54 Honky Tonk Man
1962 "Honky Tonk Man" (re-release) 11 96
1963 "All Grown Up" (re-release) 26 single only

As per a box set of his work, here is a complete singles discography.

  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 01 - I'm A One Woman Man
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 02 - Honky Tonk Man
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 03 - I'm Ready If You're Willing
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 04 - I Got A Hole In My Pirogue
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 05 - Take Me Like I Am
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 06 - Sugar-Coated Baby
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 07 - I Don't Like I Did
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 08 - Hooray For That Little Difference
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 09 - I'm Coming Home
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 10 - Over-Loving You
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 11 - She Knows Why
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 12 - Honky Tonk Mind (The Woman I Need)
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 13 - Tell My Baby I Love Her
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 14 - Goodbye Lonesome, Hello Baby Doll
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 15 - I'll Do It Everytime
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 16 - You're My Baby
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 17 - Let's Take The Long Way Home
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 18 - Lover's Rock
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 19 - Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 20 - The Wild One
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 21 - Everytime I'm Kissng You
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 22 - Hot In The Sugarcane Field
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 23 - Lonesome And Heartbroken
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 24 - Seven Come Eleven
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 25 - I Can't Forget You
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 26 - Wise To The Ways Of A Woman
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 27 - Out In New Mexico
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 28 - Tetched In The Head
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 29 - Just Walk A Little Closer
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 30 - Don't Use My Heart For A Stepping Stone
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 31 - I Love You Baby
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 1 / 32 - Wise To The Ways Of A Woman
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 01 - Counterfeit Love
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 02 - Mister Moonlight
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 03 - All Grown Up
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 04 - Got The Bull By The Horns
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 05 - When It's Springtime In Alaska
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 06 - Whispering Pines
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 07 - The Battle Of New Orleans
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 08 - All For The Love Of A Girl
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 09 - Lost Highway
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 10 - Sam Magee
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 11 - Cherokee Boogie
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 12 - The Golden Rocket
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 13 - The Battle Of New Orleans (British Version)
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 14 - Joe's Been A-Gittin' There
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 15 - The First Train Headin' South
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 16 - Got The Bull By The Horns
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 17 - Sal's Got A Sugerlip
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 18 - Words
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 19 - Johnny Reb
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 20 - Sal's Got A Sugarlip
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 21 - Ole Slew Foot
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 22 - I'm Ready If Your Willing
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 23 - Take Me Like I Am
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 24 - They Shined Up Rudolph's Nose
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 25 - The Electrified Donkey
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 26 - The Same Old Tale The Crow Told Me
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 27 - Sink The Bismarck
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 28 - Sink The Bismarck
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 29 - The Same Old Tale The Crow Told Me
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 30 - All Grown Up
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 2 / 31 - Got The Bull By The Horns
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 01 - Ole Slew Foot
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 02 - Miss Marcy
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 03 - Sleepy Eyed John
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 04 - The Mansion You Stole
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 05 - They'll Never Take Her Love From Me
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 06 - The Sinking Of Reuben James
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 07 - Jim Bridger
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 08 - The Battle Of Bull Run
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 09 - Snow-Shoe Thompson
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 10 - John Paul Jones
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 11 - Comanche (The Brave Horse)
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 12 - Young Abe Lincoln
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 13 - O'Leary's Cow
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 14 - Johnny Freedom
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 15 - Go North!
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 16 - North To Alaska
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 17 - North To Alaska
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 18 - I Just Don't Like This Kind Of Livin'
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 19 - Rock Island Line
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 20 - Hank And Joe And Me
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 21 - The Golden Rocket
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 22 - A-Sleeping At The Foot Of The Bed
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 23 - I Just Don't Like This Kind Of Livin'
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 24 - Old Blind Barnabas
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 25 - Evil Hearted Me
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 26 - Hot In The Sugarcane Field
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 27 - You Don't Move Me Baby Anymore
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 28 - The Gosh-Darn Wheel
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 29 - Broken Hearted Gypsy
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 3 / 30 - The Church By The Side Of The Road
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 01 - The Vanishing Race
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 02 - Broken Hearted Gypsy
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 03 - That Boy Got The Habit
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 04 - Hot In The Sugarcane Field
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 05 - You Don't Move Me Baby Anymore
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 06 - The Church By The Side Of The Road
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 07 - I Just Don't Like This Kind Of Livin'
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 08 - Take It Like A Man
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 09 - Hank And Joe And Me
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 10 - The Golden Rocket
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 11 - Old Blind Barnabas
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 12 - Empty Bed Blues
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 13 - Rock Island Line
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 14 - Shake, Rattle And Roll
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 15 - A-Sleeping At The Foot Of The Bed
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 16 - Old Dan Tucker
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 17 - The Gosh Darn Wheel
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 18 - From Memphis To Mobile
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 19 - Back Up Train
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 20 - Schottische In Texas
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 21 - Take It LIke A Man
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 22 - That Boy Got The Habit
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 23 - My Heart Stopped, Trembled And Died
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 24 - Alley Girl Ways
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 25 - How You Gonna Make It
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 26 - Witch Walking Baby
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 27 - Down That River Road
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 28 - Big Wheels Rollin'
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 29 - I Got A Slow Leak In My Heart
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 30 - You Don't Move Me Baby Anymore
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 31 - What Will I Do Without You
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 32 - Janey
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 33 - Streets Of Dodge
  • Johnny Horton 1956-1960 - Vol 4 / 34 - Give Me Back My Picture And You Can Keep The Frame

Notes

  1. ^ CASH: The Autobiography

References

  • Escott, Colin. (1998). "Johnny Horton". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 247-8.

External links


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