In Memoriam: Ray Price (1926-2013)

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December 17, 2013

Ray PriceCountry Music Hall of Famer Ray Price has passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 87.

Price was instrumental in two of the most significant historical periods in country music, leading the way in both the twin fiddle-dominated honky-tonk of the 1950′s and the Nashville Sound pop crossover sound in the 1970′s.   While it was the former style that was dubbed the “Ray Price Shuffle”, it was the latter style that brought his greatest commercial success.

A touring artist well into his eighties, Price also recorded music right up until his illness, winning a Grammy in 2008 for his collaboration with fellow legend Willie Nelson.

This tremendous loss joins George Jones, Jack Clement, and Jack Greene in the ranks of country music legends who have passed away this year.  2013 also brought the tragic death of Mindy McCready, the near death scare for Randy Travis, and the heartbreaking news that Linda Ronstadt has lost her voice to Parkinson’s.  For country music fans, 2014 cannot come soon enough.

Enjoy two classic Ray Price hits below, one from each of his definitive eras:

“Crazy Arms”:

“For the Good Times”

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  1. bobNo Gravatar says:

    RIP
    don’t know much about him other than your post and the NYT obit I read this morning. From the you-tubes, I’d say that he sounds better than most of today’s country singers.

  2. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    I think it is a testament to his talent that the songs Ray recorded in his seemingly infinite career have endured, and continue to get covered inside and outside the country music field. “Crazy Arms” has been a standard for decades now, ever since Ray’s original version spent a mind-busting twenty weeks on top of Billboard’s C&W chart in 1956 (both Linda Ronstadt and Patty Loveless, among others, have covered it); and “For The Good Times” reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1971, at a time when such crossovers between pop and country were still quite common.

    Ray Price is a legend of the highest order, country music or otherwise; and while he will be missed, he will also be well remembered.

  3. Dustin LNo Gravatar says:

    Also, Cal Smith died this year. RIP Ray Price!

  4. BuddynoelNo Gravatar says:

    Ray and Willie’s version of “Faded Love” was one of the first songs I played as a DJ fresh out of the Army in the 80s. The background vocals were by Crystal Gayle.
    His style was to convey emotions and tell a story rather than just flex vocal chords like we hear so often nowadays. Listen to his work on “Diamonds in the Stars” and “Old Friends.” He will be hard to replace, if not impossible.

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