Veteran music businessman Murray Nash, 82, died Monday in Ocala, Fla., following a battle with lung cancer.
“Murray enjoyed tremendous respect among his peers because he was a tireless promoter of country music,” says Country Music Hall of Fame historian Dr. John Rumble.
During his tenure at RCA in the 1940s, Mr. Nash helped sign Cliff Carlisle, Charlie Monroe and Pee Wee King to the label. In 1948 he took over the country music division of the newly founded Mercury Records and signed Flatt & Scruggs.
“He recorded their final sessions for Mercury at a radio station in Florida, where conditions were so damp that he used a light bulb to dry out the head of Earl Scruggs’ banjo,” says Rumble. Among the famous sides the duo recorded for Mercury were “Pike County Breakdown,” “Cora Is Gone” and “Take Me in a Lifeboat.”
In 1951 Fred Rose hired Mr. Nash for Acuff-Rose Publications, where he promoted records by Hank Williams and countless other country acts. The following year Mr. Nash helped stage the first country music DJ convention. He also was instrumental in launching Hickory Records, an Acuff-Rose imprint.
In 1954 Mr. Nash left Acuff-Rose to run his own advertising, publicity, promotion, recording and publishing businesses. He was retired at the time of his death.
“He stayed the same in good times and bad, whether he was enjoying success or not,” relates Rumble. “He kept a positive outlook and stuck by his friends.”
Mr. Nash is survived by his wife, Martha Nash of Ocala, Fla.; his sons, Darryl Nash of Atlanta, Steve Nash of Nashville and Roger Nash of Huntsville, Ala.; one brother, Wilbur Nash of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and four grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.