Country Music Deaths of 2006

Losses Include Buck Owens, Freddy Fender and Billy Walker

Country music lost two Hall of Fame members, a Grand Ole Opry stalwart, a legendary music publisher and several of its most revered songwriters in 2006. Here is a list of those whose lives and deaths chronicled during the past year.

Robert Altman, 81, director of the 1975 movie Nashville and co-writer of John Anderson's 1983 hit, "Black Sheep," Nov. 20 in Los Angeles.

Clifford Antone, 56, Austin nightclub owner and music impresario, May 23 in Austin, Texas.

Janette Carter, 82, daughter of musical pioneers A.P. and Sara Carter and custodian of their musical legacy, Jan. 22 in Kingsport, Tenn.

Johnny Duncan, 67, singer, Aug. 14 in Texas. His biggest hits were "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous," "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better" and "She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed (Anytime)."

Freddy Fender, 69, singer, Oct. 14 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Best known for his 1975 breakthrough hit "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," Fender also scored big with "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," "Secret Love" and "You'll Lose a Good Thing."

Tillman Franks, 86, musician, songwriter and artist manager, Oct. 26 in Shreveport, La. The former manager of Johnny Horton, David Houston and others, his hits as a songwriter included Horton's "Honky Tonk Man" and "When It's Springtime in Alaska."

Burkett "Uncle Josh" Graves, 81, Dobro player for Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys, Sept. 30 in Nashville.

Irving Green, 90, co-founder of Mercury Records, July 1 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Bobby L. Harden, 70, songwriter and member (with his two sisters) of the Harden Trio, May 30 in Nashville. He wrote the Trio's biggest hit, "Tippy Toeing," which reached No. 2 in 1966.

Charlie Hodge, 71, former sideman to Elvis Presley, March 3 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Buddy Killen, 73, producer, songwriter, musician and former owner of Tree Music, Nov. 1 in Nashville. Under Killen's leadership, Tree (which is now a part of Sony ATV) became the largest and wealthiest music publishing company in country music.

Dennis Linde, 63, songwriter, Dec. 22 in Nashville. A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, his numerous credits include Elvis Presley's "Burning Love," Garth Brooks' "Callin' Baton Rouge" and the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl."

Arif Mardin, 72, producer of albums by Willie Nelson, John Prine, Aretha Franklin and others, June 25 in New York.

Bonnie Owens, 76, singer and former wife of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, April 24 in Bakersfield, Calif.

Buck Owens, 76, singer, songwriter and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, March 25 in Bakersfield, Calif.

Gene Pitney, 65, singer, songwriter and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, April 5 in Wales. As a songwriter, his hits included "Hello Mary Lou," a Ricky Nelson hit later revived by the Statler Brothers.

June Pointer, 52, member of the Pointer Sisters (who won a best country vocal performance Grammy in 1974 for "Fairytale"), April 11 in Los Angeles.

David Schnaufer, 53, dulcimer player, Aug. 23 in Nashville.

Louise Scruggs, 78, wife and manager of Earl Scruggs, Feb. 2 in Nashville.

Gene "Jumpin' Gene" Simmons, 69, co-writer of "Indian Outlaw," Aug. 29 in Tupelo, Miss.

Beau Tucker, 79, father and manager of Tanya Tucker, Nov. 23 in Nashville.

Phil Walden, 66, co-founder of Capricorn Records and a pivotal figure in the rise of Southern rock music, April 23 in Atlanta.

Billy Walker, 77, Grand Ole Opry member, May 21 in a traffic accident in Alabama that also killed his wife, Bettie, and band members Charles Lilly Jr. and Daniel Patton.

Cindy Walker, 87, songwriter and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, March 23 in Mexia, Texas. Her hits include "You Don't Know Me," "Cherokee Maiden," "The Gold Rush Is Over," "I Don't Care" and "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)."

Don Walser, 72, singer dubbed the "Pavarotti of the Plains," Sept. 20 in Texas.

Marijohn Wilkin, 86, songwriter and music publisher, Oct. 28 in Nashville. A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, she co-wrote "The Long Black Veil" and "One Day at a Time."

Brian Williams, 45, entertainment banker, July 8 in Smithville, Tenn.

Charles K. Wolfe, 62, country music scholar, Feb. 9 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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