In Memoriam: Hal Ketchum (1953-2020)

Nineties country star Hal Ketchum has died, after a battle with dementia.

Heavy reports:

Hal Ketchum is the country singer-songwriter who died on November 24 at the age of 67. Ketchum’s cause of death was dementia. Ketchum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019. Ketchum’s death was announced in a statement from his wife, Andrea.

A brief statement on Ketchum’s Facebook page on November 24 read, “With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of Dementia. May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace.”

According to Ketchum’s official biography on his website, he has sold more than five million albums worldwide. Among his most famous songs are, “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Hearts Are Gonna Roll.”

For me, Ketchum was one of the best examples of the meritocracy of the nineties era, when an older artist on a small label could sell platinum if the material was up to snuff.  Past the Point of Rescue was a brilliant album, and the title track remains one of my favorite songs.  He put out so much great music.

Share your thoughts and favorites from him in the comments.

Our prayers are with his family, friends, and fans.

 

5 Comments

  1. It doesn’t get much better than “Small Town Saturday Night” or “Past The Point of Rescue,” as far as ’90s country goes. Terrible news.

  2. RIP Hal. He’ s been my favorite male country artist since I first heard him in the early 90’s. In July of 2008 I posted my 40 favorite female and male country artists. I had Hal at #1 (and Suzy B #1 on the female side). If I had to redo my list, there would be many changes. Hal would still be #1.

  3. This is a stunner. While I guess the news was not completely unexpected, it still hurts to know he’s gone. I wasn’t the biggest Hal Ketcham fan but when he got a song right, he really really got it right. There are very few recordings better than “Five O’Clock World”, “Past The Point of Rescue” and “Small Town Saturday Night”

  4. …so sad – like “i miss my mary” from that terrific “past the point of rescue” album. i shall never forget how i drove up and down the coast of northern florida, georgia and south carolina with its title song in my ears for three weeks and that great album in my suitcase on the flight home.

  5. Like Paul said, knowing this was eventually coming after hearing the news about his dementia doesn’t make this any less shocking or sad. Like Joe Diffie and Doug Supernaw, this one really hurts.

    Hal Ketchum was yet another artist I always enjoyed hearing on the radio as a little kid during that golden early 90’s era. I consider “Past The Point Of Rescue” to be one of the very best songs from that time period. Always loved the video to that song, as well, especially the scenes with Hal on his motorcycle. Other favorites of mine include “I Know Where Love Lives,” “Sure Love,” “Mama Knows The Highway,” (love the videos for those last two songs, as well) “Someplace Far Away,” “Tonight We Just Might Fall In Love Again,” and of course “Small Town Saturday Night.” He also had many excellent album cuts on his albums like “Old Soldiers,” “I Miss My Mary,” “Long Day Comin’,” “She Found The Place,” “Daddy’s Oldsmobile,” “Trail Of Tears,” and “Every Little Word.” His covers of “Five O’ Clock World” and “I Saw The Light” are also enjoyable. Overall, I love his first three albums, especially.

    I know most of us love the neo-traditionalists that came out in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but what also made that time in country music cool was that unique, folk influenced artists like Hal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and others were also able to have success. I can’t imagine someone like Hal (who was already in his late 30’s with silver hair when he debuted) having mainstream success in any other time but the 90’s.

    RIP Hal

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