Tex Owens

Induction Year: 1971

Birth Name: Doie Hensley Owens

Birth Date: 06-15-1892

Place of Birth: Killeen, Texas

Death Date: 09-09-1962

Place of Death: New Baden, Texas

The oldest of a sharecropper’s 13 children, Tex Owens grew up farming and ranching in Texas and Oklahoma. In his early life, he also worked in oil fields, in construction, as a deputy sheriff and as an automobile mechanic. He occasionally performed as a singer and guitarist in minstrel shows.

He began to focus on entertaining when he got his own radio show on KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1932. His program was picked up for national broadcasting by NBC and lasted on KMBC for 11 years. He was billed as “Radio’s Original Texas Ranger.” Owens was also a cast member of the station’s Brush Creek Follies ensemble show. His recording career began in 1934.

His next radio stop was as the star and co-host of the Boone County Jamboree on WLW in Cincinnati. In the 1940s he moved west to be featured on KOMA in Oklahoma City, then KHJ in Hollywood. He also attempted a film career. While in Los Angeles, he resumed his recording career in 1953-1954.

Owens specialized in writing sentimental, religious and Western material. His greatest contribution was unquestionably the cowboy yodel standard “Cattle Call.”

He described the inspiration for the song: “I was sitting in the office building on the eleventh floor of the Pickwick Hotel in Kansas City, waiting to do a broadcast on KMBC. Snow began falling. Small flakes at first, then big ones, so big they blotted out my view of the buildings through the windows...

...Sitting there in the hotel, watching the snow, my sympathy went out to cattle everywhere, and I just wished I could call them all around me and break some corn over a wagon wheel and feed them. That’s when the words ‘cattle call’ came to my mind. I picked up my guitar, and in 30 minutes I had wrote the music and four verses to the song.”

Tex Owens retired in 1960 and moved back to Texas. He died two years later of a heart attack. His sister became Grand Ole Opry star Texas Ruby (1908-1963). His oldest daughter was Laura Lee McBride (1920-1989), the female vocalist with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys who later billed herself as “The Queen of Western Swing.”


"Bow Down Brother"

Jack Guthrie1945 

"By the Rushing Waterfall"

Tex Owens1953 

"Cattle Call"

Tex Owens1934 
The Light Crust Doughboys1939 
Jimmy Wakely1940 
Eddy Arnold1945 
Tex Williams1946 
Spade Cooley1946 
Tex Ritter1947 
Rex Allen1949 
Carolina Cotton1951 
Eddy Arnold (remake)1955 #1 country, #42 pop
Slim Whitman1955 #11 country
Elton Britt1960 
The Sons of the Pioneers1962 
Bill Black Combo1963 
Billy Walker1965 
Wilf Carter1965 
Johnny Cash1965 
Grady Martin1967 
Chet Atkins1968 
Dottie West1969 
Boxcar Willie1986 
Emmylou Harris1992 
Lenny Breau & Chet Atkins1994 
Wylie & the Wild West1994 
Riders in the Sky1995 
LeAnn Rimes with Eddy Arnold1996 
Dwight Yoakam1998 
Buddy Miller2011 

"Cowboy Call"

Tex Owens1954 

"I’m Lonely for You Darling"

Tex Owens1954 

"Lost Indian Call"

Tex Owens1953 

"Love Me Now"

Tex Ritter1945 

"On the Banks of a Lonely River"

Curly Fox & Texas Ruby1947 

"Porcupine Serenade"

Tex Owens1953 

"Red Roses Bring Memories of You"

Tex Owens1954 

Tex Owens

Induction Year: 1971