Sign up for newsletter

Claude King, of "Wolverton Mountain" fame, dies at 90

Friday, March 8, 2013 – Claude King, 90, a member of the Louisiana Hayride, best known for his 1962 hit Wolverton Mountain, died Thursday.

King was born in Keithville, La. He was more interested in sports than music, but he later joined Louisiana Hayride, a TV and radio show produced in Shreveport and broadcast in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Elvis Presley got his start on the Hayride, which featured many country stars.

King recorded for Gotham Records, producing no hits. By 1961, he signed with Columbia Record, and his career took off. His first 3 songs made the top 10, starting with Big River, Big Man and The Comancheros, a song inspired by a John Wayne movie of the same name. Both got as high as seven on the charts.

His next single was his biggest hit ever, Wolverton Mountain, which was first on the country chart for nine weeks starting in May 1962. The song was written with Nashville writer Merle Kilgore and based on Clifton Clowers, who lived on Woolverton Mountain in Arkansas. Clowers was Kilgore's uncle. The song sold more than 1 million copies.

King had a slew of top 20 hits through 1966, including an American Civil War song, The Burning Of Atlanta, I've Got The World By The Tail, Sheepskin Valley, Building a Bridge and Hey Lucille!

The hits continued in 1964 with Sam Hill, and in 1965, he was back in the top 10 with Tiger Woman, co-written by Kilgore. King continued charting regularly until 1972, although between 1967 and 1972, he had only had 1 song made the top 10, All For the Love of a Girl in 1969, which reached number 9.

King also was an actor, appearing in "Swamp Girl" and Year of the Yahoo" and on TV in the miniseries "The Blue And the Gray."

King celebrated his 67th wedding anniversary last month with his wife, Barbara.

Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: For McCoury, Grisman, music still matters – One condenser microphone, a music stand, a mandolin, rhythm guitar and more than 100 years of bluegrass experience: that's all David Grisman and Del McCoury need to put on a show. It's quite a show, too. The artists' backstories are well known: McCoury was a logger in Lancaster County, Pa., who came to New York City to see Bill... »»»
Concert Review: Ely wears well – Joe Ely is the prototypical rambler. It comes through in his music and in his life. There are lots of elements in the music about travels, riding the rails, small town scenery and getting away from it. In fact, after playing "I'm Gonna Strangle You Shorty" as the first song of his encore, Ely opined, "The only thing I got out of... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Whoops, Bottle Rockets create an album Since the inception of the Bottle Rockets in the early '90s. the three basic constants have been the presence of guitarist/vocalist/primary songwriter Brian Henneman and drummer Mark Ortmann, a relatively consistent output schedule and a steady stream of great reviews for those releases.... »»»
Cox Family gets back to business On the eve of the first new release by the Cox Family in nearly two decades, "Gone Like The Cotton," Sidney Cox reflects on the national media frenzy over "Back To The Future" and the date Michael J. Fox would materialize from 1985, and the parallels to his own family's story haven't escaped his notice.... »»»
Fortune has Statlers covered The Statler Brothers were an iconic vocal group in country music. They began by backing Johnny Cash (not a bad early gig, for sure), and went on to win the CMA award for Vocal Group of the Year an astounding 8 years in a row between 1972 and 1980. The group is in both the country music and gospel music halls of fame and has won three Grammy Awards. Tenor Jimmy Fortune replaced Lew Dewitt in 1983, and continued with the group for 21 year... »»»