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Wynn Stewart
Birth name Winford Lindsey Stewart
Also known as Wynn Stewart
Born June 7, 1934
Origin Morrisville, Missouri
Died July 17, 1985
Genres Country, Bakersfield Sound
Occupations Singer-Songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1960–1985
Labels Capitol Records
Playboy Records
Associated acts Merle Haggard, Buck Owens
Website Wynn Stewart Official Site

Winford Lindsey Stewart (June 7, 1934 - July 17, 1985), better known as Wynn Stewart, was an American country music performer. He was one of the progenitors of the Bakersfield sound. Although not a huge chart success, he was an inspiration to such greats as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

Contents

Biography

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Early life and rise to fame

Wynn Stewart was born in Morrisville, Missouri in 1934, during the Depression. He spent most of his childhood moving around the country with his sharecropping family. After World War II, Stewart spent a year working at KWTO-AM in Springfield, Missouri. In 1948, he moved to California with his family. Stewart originally wanted to become a professional baseball player, but suffered from a hand disease and was also too short to play professional baseball. In high school Stewart formed a band that played at clubs around California. He soon met steel guitarist Ralph Mooney, who joined Stewart's band. The group's lineup consisted of guitarist Roy Nichols and bassist Bobby Austin.

In 1954, Stewart signed a recording contract with an independent record label called Intro Records. He released two singles on Intro. The first was called "I've Waited a Lifetime" and the second was called "Strolling." Both failed to chart on the country Music charts. His second released single caught the attention of Skeets McDonald, one of Stewart's idols. He liked the song so much, he arranged an audition with Capitol Records for Stewart. By the summer of 1956, Stewart signed with Capitol. He soon recorded and released his first single from the label "Waltz of the Angels" that same year. The song went to #14 on the country chart, and gave Stewart his first major hit. The song later became a duet hit for George Jones and Margie Singleton. However, Stewart did not stay with Capitol much longer as none of his other singles was gaining much success. His last single for Capitol (until his '60s return) was called "I Wish I Could Stay the Same," released in September 1957.

Nightclub owner

Stewart was part owner of a Las Vegas, Nevada, nightclub called Nashville Nevada during the early 1960s. He performed there six nights a week and also hosted his own television show. A young Merle Haggard sat in with the band while Stewart was out of town in 1962. Stewart returned early, was impressed with Haggard's performance, and hired him as his regular bass player. He wrote Haggard's first hit "Sing a Sad Song."

"Wynn's sound was what influenced Buck and me both," Merle Haggard has said, "and in a strange twist of fate, his band was the heart of the old Frizzell band -- Roy Nichols was part of the Lefty band, and he went to Wynn Stewart and ran into Ralph Mooney, who played the steel, and they were the basis of the modern West Coast sound."

The height of his career

With the help of songwriter Harlan Howard, Stewart signed with the record company Jackpot, part of Challenge Records, in 1958. He recorded a string of singles that were a mix of different styles, ranging from pop to rockabilly. In 1959 he released a single called "Wishful Thinking." The song finally struck gold for Stewart when it reached #5 in 1960. Following the song's success, Stewart moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he hosted a local TV show.

Stewart continued to have sizable hits, like the Jan Howard duet called "Wrong Company," and "Big, Big Love," among others. Soon, his club went bankrupt and Stewart moved back to the center of the Bakersfield sound, California, in 1965. He soon re-signed with Capitol. His first couple of singles for the label proved unsuccessful once again for Stewart, but his fifth single was a different story. "It's Such a Pretty World Today" was released in 1967 and became the biggest hit of his career. The song went to number 1 on the country music chart and spent two weeks there. Its follow-up, "Cause I Have You," was a Top 10 hit in 1967. Following his singles' success, Stewart recorded more soft, pop-friendly material, which gave Stewart his biggest hits into the 1970s.

By 1972, his sales began to fall, so Stewart moved to RCA Records that year with "Paint Me A Rainbow" being his biggest hit for the label. He also briefly signed with Atlantic Records in 1974. Over the next three years, Stewart released singles but didn't break the country Top 40. In 1975, he signed with Playboy Records and managed a Top 10 hit in 1976 called "After the Storm." Although he stayed with Playboy, he only had one other big hit, his version of "Sing a Sad Song," which went to number 19 in 1977. Soon, his success began to fall after low record sales and failing chart success.

Later career and death

Stewart started his own label in 1978 called WIN. His first single, "Eyes As Big As Dallas," broke the Top 40. Although country music was changing in the late 70s, moving to the smooth sounds of country pop, he wasn't able to continue to achieve success, which was due to alcoholism. In the early 1980s, Stewart quit performing. In the mid 80s, things changed when Stewart launched a comeback, with an extensive tour and a new album.

During the tour, Stewart suddenly died of a heart attack on July 17, 1985. Following Stewart's death, his song "Wait Till I Get My Hands On You" became a minor hit.

Discography

Albums

Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US
1962 Wynn Stewart Wrangler
1965 Songs Capitol
1967 It's Such a Pretty World Today 1 158
Love's Gonna Happen to Me 13
1968 Something Pretty 28
In Love
1969 Let the Whole World Sing It with Me 41
Yours Forever
1970 You Don't Care What Happens to Me
It's a Beautiful Day
1971 Baby It's Yours
1976 After the Storm 24 Playboy

Singles

Year Single US Country Album
1956 "Waltz of the Angels" 14 Wynn Stewart
1960 "Wishful Thinking" 5
1960 "Wrong Company" (with Jan Howard) 26 singles only
1962 "Another Day, Another Dollar" 27
1967 "It's Such a Pretty World Today" 1 It's Such a Pretty World Today
"'Cause I Have You" 9
1968 "Love's Gonna Happen to Me" 7 Love's Gonna Happen to Me
"Something Pretty" 10 Something Pretty
1969 "Let the Whole World Sing It with Me" 20 Let the Whole World Sing It with Me
"World Wide Travelin' Man" 19
"Yours Forever" 47 Yours Forever
1970 "You Don't Care What Happens to Me" 55 You Don't Care What Happens to Me
"It's a Beautiful Day" 13 It's a Beautiful Day
1971 "Heavenly" 32
"Baby It's Yours" 55 Baby It's Yours
"Hello Little Rock" 53
1972 "Paint Me a Rainbow" 49 singles only
1973 "Love Ain't Worth a Dime Unless It's Free" 51
"It's Raining in Seattle" 62
1975 "Lonely Rain" 80 After the Storm
1976 "After the Storm" 8
1977 "Sing a Sad Song" 19
1979 "Eyes as Big as Dallas" 37 singles only
"Could I Talk You Back Into Loving Me Again" 59
1985 "Wait 'Til I Get My Hands on You" 98

External links


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