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Jack "The Jolly Green Giant" Greene dies

Friday, March 15, 2013 – Grand Ole Opry star Jack Greene passed away Thursday at 83 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Born in Maryville, Tenn. on Jan. 7, 1930, Greene's first job was on WGAP Radio in Maryville. He worked eight years with the Peachtree Cowboys out of Atlanta, a band he started after moving there in the early 1950s.

Greene returned to Tennessee and formed his own band in Nashville, The Tennessee Mountain Boys. In 1961, the band opened for Ernest Tubb, catching Tubb's attention. In 1962, he became the drummer for Tubb in the Texas Troubadour Band.

Greene, who was nicknamed the Jolly Green Giant, got his own career going with encouragement from Tubb. He opened shows for Tubb playing guitar and singing. In 1964, Greene released his first song, The Last Letter, which initially appeared on a live Tubb disc. Decca Records picked it up, releasing it as a single.

Greene's first top 40 hit came in 1966 with Ever Since My Baby Went Away.

He recorded nine number one hits for Decca Records and MCA Records. These included There Goes My Everything, What Locks The Door, You Are My Treasure, Until My Dreams Come True, Back In The Arms Of Love, Love Takes Care of Me, Lord, Is That Me? and Statue Of A Fool.

The pinnacle of his success came during the 1967 CMA awards, where he swept every major prize including Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year for There Goes My Everything. The album was number one for a year.

Greene was inducted in 1967 into the Grand Ole Opry where he was a regular performer.

In 1970, Greene toured with Jeannie Seely, also doing duets with her. They had a number two hit with Wish I Didn't have to Miss You and were a big draw on the touring scene.

Greene continued having solo hits as well as with Seely. His last top 15 hit was I Need Somebody Bad in 1983. After that, he did not do well on the charts. He was dropped by MCA Records (previously Decca) in 1976.

Greene had a brief comeback to the charts in 1980 with Yours for the Taking on Frontline Records. He continued recording, touring and playing the Opry. He retired in 2011.

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