A star vocalist, bandleader and hit-maker, Country Music Hall of Famer Buck
Owens was also the author of numerous evergreen country hits, including
"Together Again," "Love's Gonna Live Here," "I Don't Care," "My Heart Skips a
Beat," "Foolin' Around" and "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail."
The son of Texas sharecroppers, Alvis Owens Jr. had not yet celebrated his
fifth birthday when he announced to his family that his name was "Buck." The
nickname stuck for the rest of his life. The family moved to Mesa, Arizona when
Buck was a child, and he learned to entertain as a teenager, appearing on local
In 1951, he moved to Bakersfield, California, where Owens soon took his place
at the center of a burgeoning music scene. He starred in hardscrabble
honky-tonks in the '50s, sharpening a sound that incorporated Western swing,
country shuffles and rockabilly. After releasing a few records on independent
labels, Owens signed to Capitol Records in 1957. His self-penned "Second
Fiddle" reached #24 on the country chart in 1959 (the same year his "Mommy for
a Day" was a Top 10 country hit for Kitty Wells). Later in 1959, Owens' "Under
Your Spell Again" became his first Top 10 hit, and the song was later covered
by Ray Price, Waylon Jennings and others. By decade's end, Owens had
established himself as a national artist with a viscerally appealing twang that
was the polar opposite of the lush, pop-leaning Nashville Sound.
Owens' first #1 country hit, 1963's "Act Naturally" (written by Johnny Russell
and Voni Morrison), was covered by the Beatles. He followed it with a string of
smashes, many of them self-penned. "Together Again" was a top-charting country
hit for Owens and, much later, for Emmylou Harris, as well as a #1 adult
contemporary hit for Ray Charles. Owens wrote "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail"
with his friend Harlan Howard, and that #1 country song would later be chosen
for the Grammy Hall of Fame. Owens notched a total of 20 #1 country records
between 1963 and 1972. His live concert albums from Carnegie Hall (1966) and
the London Palladium (1969) left no doubt that country played well in the
In the 1970s, Owens slowed his touring to star on the long-running television
show Hee Haw from 1969 to 1986. He came out of his self-imposed
retirement in 1988, recording a #1 country single with Dwight Yoakam, "The
Streets of Bakersfield."