Ralph Mooney dies at 82.
Monday, March 21, 2011
– Steel guitarist Chuck Mooney, who co-wrote Crazy Arms,
died at 82.
Born Sept. 16 1928, Duncan, Okla., Mooney became interested in music as a child. After moving to live with his sister he was taught to play guitar, mandolin and fiddle. He became attracted to the instrument after hearing Leon McAuliffe's recording of Steel Guitar Rag.
Mooney worked with amateur bands until doing his first recordings with Skeets McDonald's band. In 1950, while a regular on Squeakin' Deacon's radio show, he met Wynn Stewart and gained session work. He played on early Buck Owens' hits such as Foolin' Around and Under Your Spell Again. Mooney also played lead guitar on Stewart's first Capitol Records recordings.
In 1961, he moved with Stewart to Las Vegas and worked therefore 2 years in Stewart's club. Merle Haggard was also a band member for a stretch, and when Haggard made his first Tally recordings, Mooney played steel guitar on them. When he returned to California, Stewart remained based in Las Vegas for six more years, during which time he played sometimes with Stewart on his Vegas shows. He also worked with Haggard and played steel guitar on several of Haggard's hit records including Sing Me Back Home, Swinging Doors' and The Bottle Let Me Down.
Mooney played again with Stewart in the 1960s and joined became the steel guitarist in Waylon Jennings' band the Waylors, where he remained for more than 20 years.
Crazy Arms was the most popular song he wrote (with Chuck Seals), a hit for Ray Price, which was his first number 1 record in 1956 and was later a Top 20 hit for both Marion Worth and Willie Nelson. Mooney once said, 'It has been recorded by so many different people. I would starve to death if it wasn't for those royalty checks.' He also wrote Foolin, a top 4 chart hit for Johnny Rodriguez in 1983.
In 1983, Mooney was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
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