Thursday, February 21, 2019
– Country Music Hall of Famer Fred Foster, who produced the first singles of Dolly Parton and Jimmy Dean along with Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson albums, died last night following a short illness with his family at his side at 88.
Foster formed and helmed Monument Records, the broad-minded independent label that released classic recordings by Kris Kristofferson, Ray Stevens, Boots Randolph, Charlie McCoy, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Jeannie Seely, Nelson, Orbison, Parton.
He founded Combine Music, which published classic hits including Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Orbison's "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)," and Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie."
He produced Kristofferson's first album, and the early 1960s records that landed Orbison in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price's "Last of the Breed" (2007).
Foster also produced Nelson's ""Beauty Is". His last project was Dawn Landes' album, "Meet Me At The River" last year. He was a member of the North Carolina Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and a 2016 inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Foster was born July 26, 1931, in Rutherford County, N.C., the youngest of eight children. He was preceded in death by his parents, Vance Hampton and Clara Marcella (Weaste) Foster, and siblings Albert Glen, Estelle, Charles Vance, Ray, Pauline, Ethel Lou, and Ann. He is survived by his son Vance Foster, and daughters Micki Foster (Greg) Koenig, Leah Foster (Dillon) Alderman, Brit Foster (Judd) Rothstein, and Kristen Foster and grandchildren Rachel DiGregorio, Rhys and Tess Rothstein, and Penelope Kirschner.