Sign up for newsletter

Ray Price dies at 87

Monday, December 16, 2013 – Ray Price, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died Monday afternoon at 87 of pancreatic cancer.

Price, dubbed the Cherokee Cowboy, was best known for songs including For the Good Times and Crazy Arms.

Radio DJ Bill Mack reported his friend's death on Facebook. He said, "Janie just called me: Ray Price left for heaven at 4:43 p.m. central time. He went in perfect peace. Details later. Janie and the family so grateful for your prayers. Ray's body will be received at Restland Funeral Home in Dallas." Janie is Price's widow and manager.

Price was born in Perryville, Texas on Jan. 12, 1926. He served with the U.S. Marines from 1944-1946, and began singing for KRBC in Abilene, Texas in 1948. He joined the Big D Jamboree in Dallas the following year.

He moved to Nashville in the early 1950s, rooming for a short time with Hank Williams. Price first hit the charts in May 1952 with Talk to Your Heart, which reached number three on the Billboard charts. In 1953, Price formed his band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Members included Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Darrell McCall, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Bush, Buddy Emmons and Buddy Spicher.

Price became one of the key figures of 1950s honky tonk music. He enjoyed hits with Talk To Your Heart (1952) and Release Me (1954). He had a big hit with Crazy Arms in 1956. The song remained first on the Billboard charts for 20 weeks.

During the 1960s, Price went for the Nashville Sound, which was considered more commercial and lush with strings, quite different from the honky tonk sounds. Country traditionalists were not pleased with Price's change of sound.

Price continued touring and recording for much of the rest of his life. Price won Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association and Grammy Awards including Album and Single of the Year for For the Good Times in 1970 from the ACM.

Price continued charting the top 20 until 1982 when Old Friends with Roger Miller and Willie Nelson hit 19. Among his number ones in the 1970s were She's Got to Be a Saint and You're he Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. Price charted with 109 songs. His final one wasLove Me Down to Size in 1989. Price's last CD release was "Last of the Breed" with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, which came out in 2007. The three launched a nationwide tour.

In November 2012, Price confirmed he was battling pancreatic cancer.

More news for Ray Price

CD reviews for Ray Price

Beauty Is... CD review - Beauty Is...
On Dec. 16, 2013, Ray Price, succumbed to pancreatic cancer, and the world lost yet another great musician who during his career had helped change the face of country music. In the 1950s, the Cherokee Cowboy (he formed the Cherokee Cowboys in 1953, and Roger Miller, Buddy Emmons, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, and Buddy Spicher, among others, were members of the band) developed the sound that became known as the "Ray Price shuffle," which most famously can be heard on his hit »»»
Fans of Ray Price's classics hardcore honky-tonk recordings of the '50s' and '60s have been hoping for one last return to form for quite a few years now - decades, actually - from the man who more or less created the style. And in spite of Price's legendary stubbornness, that return has finally come. Backed by a group of Nashville A-team studio vets, Price has finally abandoned the orchestra this time out for a long-overdue collection of shuffles, western swing and ballads like few other can deliver. »»»
Prisoner of Love
In spite of some fans' hopes that Ray Price would turn in one last great honky-tonk album, Price continues to mine the heavily orchestrated blend of country and pop that has dominated his career since 1967's "Danny Boy." In fact, the opening lines of the re-recording of Harlan Howard's terrific "Better Class of Losers" (which opens the album) could well be interpreted by some as a pointed message from Price to fans of his groundbreaking honky-tonk recordings of the '50's and '60's: "I said I'm »»»
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... »»»
First Comes the NIght CD review - First Comes the NIght
Chris Isaak is something of a renaissance man. In addition to being a talented singer and songwriter, he's an actor, guest-starring in popular television shows like "Friends" and "Hot in Cleveland"; he even had his own series on Showtime in the early 2000's. He's been in movies with Michelle Pfieffer, Jodie Foster and Tom Hanks. »»»
I'm Comin' Over CD review - I'm Comin' Over
Chris Young has enjoyed steady success from his previous four releases, and there's no reason to suggest that "I'm Comin' Over" won't do the same. But that doesn't mean that Young is doing anything all that different from what's au courant. Young's go to has always been his full-sounding, big-bodied voice, and that remains intact here throughout these 11 songs, 9 of which he had a hand in writing. »»»
Meat and Candy CD review - Meat and Candy
Old Dominion may be releasing its full-length debut, but this quintet is not filled with newbies. Lead singer Matthew Ramsey co-wrote "Chainsaw" for The Band Perry and with band mate Trevor Rosen penned Craig Morgan's "Wake Up Lovin' You" and Dierks Bentley's "Say You Do." Rosen also co-wrote Chris Young's "Neon," Blake Shelton's "Sangria" and The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two"... »»»
Mr. Misunderstood CD review - Mr. Misunderstood
When listeners were introduced to Eric Church on his debut, they heard an artist who could balance strong song writing with a bit of a rebellious edge to the music. The surprise release of his latest continues that tradition, being quietly released to his fan club before even being officially announced. The music, written and recorded over a short period of time with an unheard of fast turnaround, has a raw edge that bridges the gap... »»»
Buy Me A Boat CD review - Buy Me A Boat
After years of toiling in the trenches in Nashville, Chris Janson had faced his share of hardships and rejections. He'd worked with an impressive roster of artists (Tim McGraw, Justin Moore, Lee Brice), but failed to score any significant attention as an artist himself. Then he followed his wife's advice and self-released a single, "Buy Me a Boat," which became a surprise radio hit. After years of playing country, Janson finally became an "overnight sensation"... »»»