Vaughn Horton

Induction Year: 1971

Birth Name: George Vaughn Horton

Birth Date: 06-05-1911

Place of Birth: Broad Top, Pennsylvania

Death Date: 02-29-1988

Place of Death: New Port Richey, Florida

Vaughn Horton was a New York-based songwriter who contributed such classic songs as "Mule Skinner Blues," "Sugar Foot Rag" and "Mockin' Bird Hill" to country and pop music.

He was one of 11 children born to a coal miner and his wife in the rural hamlet of Broad Top, in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. With his brother Roy Horton (who would become an influential country music publishing executive), Vaughn began playing country music at local roadhouses as a teenager, looking for a way to escape the mines. He attended Penn State University, then moved on to Philadelphia and New York, where he performed country music on radio.

Adept at both guitar and steel guitar, Horton was playing country recording sessions in New York by the early 1940s, backing the likes of Jimmie Davis, Elton Britt and Red River Dave McEnery. From session picking, Horton moved on to record producing and artist and repertoire work for R&B acts for several New York-based labels, including Continental, National, Majestic, MGM and others.

His first big songwriting success came when Jimmie Rodgers rewrote his song "Mule Skinner Blues" for a 1931 recording session. Not only was it a big seller, it also has became a country and bluegrass classic that has been repeatedly revived by acts such as Bill Monroe, Dolly Parton and Bob Dylan.

In the 1930s and '40s, Horton collaborated with country singer Denver Darling to write "Address Unknown" and "Don't Hang Around Me Anymore," songs that became popular with cowboy singers. The two also collaborated on "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," a huge R&B and pop hit for bandleader Louis Jordan in 1946 that has been covered many times. In 1950, Horton added words to a hot guitar instrumental that Hank Garland composed, and the result was the evergreen "Sugar Foot Rag."

During the early '50s, Horton and his brother Roy had a group called the Pinetoppers. In September 1950, they recorded Horton's "Mockin' Bird Hill" for Coral Records, and it soon climbed both the pop and country charts. Les Paul and Mary Ford covered it in January 1951, and their version quickly became a pop smash that was covered by yet more artists, becoming one of the biggest records of the year.

Vaughn Horton continued to write songs that hit the country charts into the 1970s. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 76.
 

"Address Unknown"

(written with Gene Autry, Denver Dorling)

The Ink Spots1939 
Gene Autry1945 
Don Gibson & Los Indios Tabajaras1964 
Johnny Bond1972 
 

"An Old Christmas Card"

Jim Reeves1963 
The Forester Sisters1987 
Mickey Gilley1995 

"Choo-Choo Ch'Boogie"

(written with Denver Darling, Milt Gabler)

Lous Jordan1949 #7 pop
Bill Haley & the Comets1956 
Quincy Jones1959 
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown1973 
Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers1974 
Asleep at the Wheel1975 #69 country
Clifton Chenier1979 
Foghat1983 
Manhattan Transfer1992 
Charlie McCoy1994 
B. B. King1999 
Kid Creole & the Coconuts2001 
 

"Come What May"

Patti Page1952 #9 pop
Little Jimmy Scott1952 
 

"Dixie Cannonball"

(written with Gene Autry, Red Foley)

Gene Autry1946 
Hank Williams1949 
Jenks Tex Carman1952  
Bill Clifton1971 
Larry Sparks1977 
 

"Don't Hang Around Me Anymore"

(written with Gene Autry, Denver Darling)

Gene Autry1945 
The Maddox Brothers & Rose1945 
Hank Snow1947 
Wesley Tuttle1949 

"Hillbilly Fever"

Little Jimmy Dickens1950 #3 country
Spade Cooley & His Orchestra1950 
Ernest Tubb & Red Foley1950 #9 country
Roy Acuff1963 
The Osborne Brothers1991 
 

"Metro Polka"

Frankie Laine1951 #19 pop
Lawrence Welk Orchestra1982 

"Mockin' Bird Hill"

The Pinetoppers1950 #3 country, #10 pop
Les Paul & Mary Ford1951 #2 pop, #7 country
Ethel Smith1951 
Patti Page1951 #2 pop
Russ Morgan1951 #16 pop
Jean Shepard1961 
Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra1961 
Hank Snow & Anita Carter1962 
Elton Britt1963 
Slim Whitman1963 
Burl Ives1963 
Sons of the Pioneers1964 
George Jones & Gene Pitney1966 
Ray Stevens1975 
Donna Fargo1977 #9 country
Maria Muldaur1992 
Leo Kottke2004 
 

"Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel #8)"

(written with Jimmie Rodgers)

Jimmie Rodgers1931 
Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys1940 
Roy Acuff1940 
Woody Guthrie1945 
The Maddox Brothers & Rose1948 
Odetta1956 
Ramblin' Jack Elliott1958 
The Fendermen1960 #5 pop, #16 country
The Osborne Brothers1962 
Jose Feliciano1964 
Hank Williams Jr.1965 
Merle Haggard1969 
Dolly Parton1970 #3 country
Jerry Reed1971 
Old & In the Way1973 
The Country Gentlemen1973 
Lester Flatt1974 
Grandpa Jones1979 
Tony Rice1984 
The Cramps1990 
Bob Dylan1994 
Sweethearts of the Rodeo1996 
Van Morrison1997 
Rhonda Vincent & the Rage2005 
Gretchen Wilson2006 
 

"Plantation Boogie"

Pee Wee King1946 
Lenny Dee1954 
Red Foley1954 

"Sugar Foot Rag"

(written with Hank Garland)

Hank Garland1950 
Red Foley1950 #4 country
Ella Fitzgerald1950 
Porter Wagoner1961 
Jerry Kennedy1961 
Duane Eddy1963 
The Ventures1963 
Chet Atkins1964 
The Browns1964 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1967 
Jimmy Bryant1967 
Jerry Reed1980 #12 country
Hot Rize1982 
Sam Bush1985 
Eddie Adcock1988 
Asleep at the Wheel1988 
Junior Brown1993 
Jim McReynolds1994 
Brent Mason1997 
 

"Swiss Lullaby"

(written with Harry Kogen)

Gene Krupa & His Orchestra1941 
Slim Whitman1963 
 

"Teardrops in My Heart"

Sons of the Pioneers1947 #4 country
Rex Allen1948 
Jim Reeves1957 
Teresa Brewer1957 #64 pop
Eddie Dean1958 
Ray Charles1962 
Dick Curless1965 
Hank Snow1965 
Sammi Smith1972 
Freddy Fender1975 
Rex Allen Jr.1976 #18 country
Marty Robbins1981 #45 country
Wylie & the Wild West1998 
 

"The Bitter Taste"

Elton Britt1969 #71 country
 

"The Jimmie Rodgers Blues"

Elton Britt1968 #26 country
 

"The Lawrence Welk Hee-Haw Counter-Revolution Polka"

Roy Clark1972 #9 country

"Till the End of the World"

Eddy Arnold1948 
Ernest Tubb1949 #4 country
Jimmy Wakely1949 #9 country
Johnny Bond1949 #12 country
Bing Crosby & Grady Martin1952 #10 country, #16 pop
Sheb Wooley1958 
Jim Reeves1959 
Elton Britt1965 
Willie Nelson1995 
Merle Haggard & Chester Smith2002 
 

"Toolie Oolie Doolie"

(written with Artur Beul, Walter Wild)

The Andrews Sisters1948 #3 pop
Vaughn Horton1948 #11 pop
The Sportsmen1948 #11 pop
The Marlin Sisters1948 #30 pop
Henri Rene & Musette Orchestra1948 #30 pop
 

"Truck Stop"

(written with Jerry Smith)

Jerry Smith1969 #44 country
Dick Curless1970 
The Mills Brothers1974 

Vaughn Horton

Induction Year: 1971