Buck Owens

Induction Year: 1996

Birth Name: Alvis Edgar Owens Jr.

Birth Date: 08-12-1929

Place of Birth: Sherman, Texas

Death Date: 03-26-2006

Place of Death: Bakersfield, California

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 radio.

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 city.

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."

"Before You Go"

(written with Don Rich)

Buck Owens1965 #1 country, #83 pop

"Big in Vegas"

(written with Terry Stafford)

Buck Owens1969 #5 country, #100 pop
Terry Stafford1973 

"Cryin' Time"

Buck Owens1965 
Ray Charles1965 #6 pop
Brenda Lee1966 
Jack Greene1967 
Dean Martin1969 
Barbra Streisand1974 
The New Seekers1974 
Julio Iglesias1990 
LeAnn Rimes1999 
Raul Malo2007 

"Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache)"

(written with Harlan Howard)

Buck Owens1960 #2 country
George Hamilton IV1966 
Patti Page1967 
The Mavericks1992 

"Foolin' Around"

(written with Harlan Howard)

Buck Owens1961 #2 country
Patsy Cline1961 
Kay Starr1961 #49 pop
Connie Smith1967 
The Derailers2007 

"How Long Will My Baby Be Gone"

Buck Owens1968 #1 country

"I Don't Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)"

Buck Owens1964 #1 country, #92 pop
Skeeter Davis & Bobby Bare1965 
Kitty Wells1965 
Ricky Van Shelton1987 
Bobby Cryner1993 
Dwight Yoakam2007 
John Fogerty2009 

"I've Got a Tiger by the Tail"

(written with Harlan Howard)

Buck Owens1965 #1 country, #25 pop
Ernest Tubb1965 
Del Reeves1965 
Waylon Jennings1967 
Sara Evans1997 

"Love's Gonna Live Here"

Buck Owens1963 #1 country
Waylon Jennings1964 
George Jones1964 
Ray Charles1965 
Connie Smith1967 
Wanda Jackson1969 
The Osborne Brothers1972 
George Jones & Buck Owens1991 
Martina McBride2005 

"Mommy for a Day"

(written with Harlan Howard)

Kitty Wells1959 #5 country

"My Heart Skips a Beat"

Buck Owens1964 #1 country, #94 country
Peter & Gordon1966 
Jody Miller1966 
The Secret Sisters2010 

"Only You (Can Break My Heart)"

Buck Owens1965 #1 country, #120 pop
Jody Miller1967 
Dwight Yoakam2007 

"Open Up Your Heart"

Buck Owens1966 #1 country
Bill Anderson1967 

"Tall Dark Stranger"

Buck Owens1969 #1 country

"There Goes My Love"

Buck Owens1956 
George Morgan1957 #15 country
Pam Tillis1987 #71 country
Highway 1011988 
Johnson Mountain Boys1993 

"Together Again"

Buck Owens1964 #1 country
Jerry Lee Lewis1964 
Ray Charles1966 #1 adult contemporary, #19 pop
Kitty Wells & Red Foley1967 
Johnny Paycheck1968 
Dean Martin1970 
Flying Burrito Brothers1973 
Emmylou Harris1976 #1 country
Kenny Rogers & Dottie West1984 #19 country
Dwight Yoakam2007 

"Under Your Spell Again"

(written with Dusty Rhodes)

Buck Owens1959 #4 country
Skeeter Davis1959 
Ray Price1959 #5 country
Jean Shepard1961 
Lloyd Price1962 
Johnny Rivers1965 #35 pop
Ernest Tubb1966 
Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter1971 #39 country
Barbara Fairchild1976 #65 country
Shelby Lynne1989 #93 country

"Waitin' in Your Welfare Line"

(written with Don Rich, Nat Stuckey)

Buck Owens1966 #1 country, #57 pop
Ernest Tubb1966 

"You're For Me"

Tommy Collins1954 
Buck Owens1960 
Buck Owens (remake)1962 #10 country

"Your Tender Loving Care"

Buck Owens1967 #1 country
Jack Greene1967 
Liz Anderson1968 

Buck Owens

Induction Year: 1996