Nashville Dealer Offers Spade Cooley Guitar

An acoustic guitar constructed by western swing music pioneer Spade Cooley and friend Richard Norton is up for sale at Gruhn Guitars, a Nashville store specializing in used and vintage instruments. Cooley, a fiddler and bandleader, was a major force in country music on the West Coast during the 1940s and is credited with popularizing the phrase “western swing.” Cooley and Norton built the guitar in 1962 while inmates in California’s Vacaville Prison where Cooley was serving a life sentence for torturing and murdering his wife. Cooley died of a heart attack in 1969 while on a 72-hour furlough to perform at a police benefit in Oakland, Calif. The guitar is signed by Cooley, Norton and the late country star T. Texas Tyler. The asking price is $10,000. 08/26/03