Merle Kilgore

Induction Year: 1998


Birth Name: Wyatt Merle Kilgore
Birth Date: August 09, 1934
Place of Birth: Chickasha, OK



Biography

 

Former Occupations:
Delivered glasses for American Optical during high school
Insurance salesman

Education:
Grade School--Creswell (Shreveport, LA) (from 1940-1947)
High School--Byrd High (Shreveport, LA) (graduated in 1952)
College--Louisiana Tech (Ruston, LA) (from 1952-1953)



Discography / Career Highlights

Career Milestones:
1948 - at age 14, started carrying Hank Williams Sr.'s guitar at Louisiana Hayride
1950 - started performing on the Louisiana Hayride
1952 - first job as a Disc Jockey at KRUS Radio (Ruston, LA)
1953 - hosted his own tv show as "The Tall Texan" on KFAZ-TV and KNOE Radio & TV (Monroe, LA)
1953 - wrote first song "More and More," a million seller, recorded by Webb Pierce and pop artist Guy Lombardo
1953 - signed first recording contract with Imperial Records in March; first release was "More and More"
1955 - worked as a DJ at KBSF-Radio (Springhill, LA)
1956 - worked as a DJ at KCIJ-Radio (Shreveport, LA)
1957 - became the DJ at KENT-Radio (Springhill, LA)
1958 - became the DJ and manager of KZEA-Radio (formerly KFIJ)in Shreveport, LA
1959 - became the DJ and manager of KBSF-Radio (Springhill, LA)
1959 - had first top ten record with self-penned song "Dear Mama" on Starday Records
1959 - wrote "Johnny Reb," a million seller for Johnny Horton
1960 - hosted the Big Ten Jamboree on Channel 10 in Eldorado, AR
1960 - made first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on May 23; received the WSM Mr DJ Award
1961 - signed recording contract with Mercury Records
1961 - moved to Nashville on December 31 to become the manager of the Nashville office of Shapiro-Bernstein Music
1962 - started performing as a regular guest on the Grand Ole Opry
1962 - Multi-million seller "Wolverton Mountain" was recorded by Claude King
1962 - joined the Johnny Cash road show
1962 - performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City
1962 - performed at the Hollywood Bowl
1963 - named one of Billboard Magazine's Top Ten Songwriters
1963 - co-wrote "Ring of Fire" with June Carter
1963 - appeared in first feature film, "Country Music on Broadway"
1963 - record LP for Starday, "Gold In Them Thar Hills"
1963 - signed with MGM Records
1964 - joined the Hank Williams Jr. road show as opening act on May 1
1965 - starred in the movie "Second Fiddle To a Steel Guitar"
1965 - signed with Epic Records
1966 - starred in the gospel movie "Sing a Song For Heaven's Sake"
1967 - signed with Columbia Records
1968 - signed with Ashley Records
1969 - became General Manager of Hank Williams Jr.'s publishing companies
1970 - starred in the movie "Educated Heart"
1972 - re-signed with Starday Records
1974 - signed with Warner Bros. Records
1974 - appeared in the feature film "W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings" starring Burt Reynolds
1975 - appeared in Robert Altman's movie "Nashville"
1978 - accepted position as "Singing Host" of George Jones' Possum Holler Club in Nashville, TN
1978 - moved to Cullman, AL with Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises
1979 - donated the original lyrics of "Wolverton Mountain" to the Country Music Hall of Fame in June, where they are currently on display
1979 - appeared in the movie "Roadie"
1980 - appeared in the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter"
1981 - appeared as himself in the movie "Living Proof," the story of Hank Williams Jr. for NBC
1986 - named Executive Vice President and Head of Management of Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises, on April 7
1986 - moved with Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises to Paris, TN, on July 1
1987 - named an honorary State Senator for Tennessee by the Tennessee State Legislature
1989 - began serving on the CMA Board of Directors; is still currently serving on the Board
1989 - negotiated deal for Hank Williams Jr.'s performance of the ABC Monday Night Football theme song
1990 - voted the first CMA "Manager of the Year" at the SRO Awards ceremony
1990 - elected President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International's Board of Directors
1993 - inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in Lafayette, LA
1993 - inducted into Shreveport's Byrd High School Hall of Fame
1994 - opened Merle Kilgore Management in Nashville, representing Hank Williams Jr. and other artists
1995-1997 - served as President of Rope International
1997 - named Rope International Business Person of the Year

Awards:
1955 - BMI Performance Award\Country\More and More
1962 - BMI Performance Award\Pop\Wolverton Mountain
1962 - BMI Performance Award\Country\Wolverton Mountain
1962 - The Music Reporter\Writer Hit Award\Wolverton Mountain
1963 - BMI Performance Award\Country\Ring of Fire
1963 - CMR Award\Best Song of the Year\Ring of Fire
1963 - Billboard\Top Ten Songwriter of the Year
1964 - BMI Performance Award\Country\Old Records
1965 - BMI Performance Award\Country\Tiger Woman
1968 - Nashville Songwriters Association\Outstanding Achievement Award
1984 - BMI Performance Award\Country\More and More
1988 - Southern Songwriters Guild Hall of Fame Award
1990 - Country Music Association\SRO Award\Manager of the Year\first winner in category
1991 - Texas Country Music Association\Golden Guitar Award
1998 - North American Country Music Association Hall of Fame\Legendary Songwriter's Award

Catalog Highlights:
"More and More" - Artists: Merle Kilgore (1953), Webb Pierce (1954), Guy Lombardo (1954), Charley Pride (1983)

"Dear Mama " - A rtists: Merle Kilgore (1958)

"A Long Time Ago" - Co-writer: Faron Young - Artists: Faron Young (1957)

"I Know It's Still Goodbye" - Co-writer: Faron Young - Artists: Faron Young (1958)

"Love Has Made You Beautiful " - A rtists: Merle Kilgore (1959)

"Johnny Reb " - A rtists: Johnny Horton (1959), Johnny Cash (1962), Merle Kilgore (1963), Marty Robbins (1982)

"42 In Chicago " - A rtists: Merle Kilgore (1962)

"Wolverton Mountain" - Co-writer: Claude King - Artists: Claude King (1962), Bing Crosby (1963), Louis Armstrong (1962), Nat King Cole (1962), Great Plains (1996)

"Old Records" - Co-writer: Margie Singleton - Artists: Margie Singleton (1964), Kay Starr

"Ring Of Fire" - Co-writer: June Carter - Artists: Johnny Cash (1963), Anita Carter, Merle Kilgore, Ray Charles, Olivia Newton-John, Blondie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lynn Anderson, Tom Jones, Earl Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, Kitty Wells, Burl Ives, Hank Williams Jr.

"She (He) Went a Little Bit Farther" - Co-writer: Mack Vickery - Artists: Faron Young (1968), Hank Williams Jr., Merle Kilgore, Ernest Tubb, Sammi Smith

"Tiger Woman" - Co-writer: Claude King - Artists: Claude King (1965), Merle Kilgore, Johnny Wright

"The Folk Singer " - A rtists: Tommy Roe (1963), Eddy Arnold, Jim Ed Brown

"She (He) Understands Me/Dum De Da" - (recorded under all three titles Co-writer: Margie Singleton - Artists: Teresa Brewer, Johnny Tillotson, Bobby Vinton

"Old Enough to Know" - Co-writer: Al Jones, Billy Jones - Artists: Ricky Nelson (1959)

"Let Somebody Else Drive" - Co-writer: Mack Vickery - Artists: John Anderson (1984)

"Baby I've Got It " - A rtists: Eddy Arnold (1965), Merle Kilgore

"Confused" - Co-writer: Abe Mulkey, Lefty Frizzell - A rtists: Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams Jr. (1974)

"Fast Talking Louisiana Man " - A rtists: Faron Young (1967)

"Dianne, Dianne" - Co-writer: Ronny Wilkins - A rtists: Ronny & The Daytonas (1966)

"The Easy Way" - Co-writer: Glenn Sutton - A rtists: Eddy Arnold (1965)

"Guess What That's Right, She's Gone" - Co-writer: Glenn Sutton - A rtists: Hank Williams Jr. (1964)

"Happy To Be With You" - Co-writer: Johnny Cash, June Carter - Artists: Johnny Cash (1966)

"I Can Take Anything " - A rtists: Hank Williams Jr. (1964)

"I'd Rather Be Sorry (Than Safe All Alone)" - Co-writer: Gail Talley - A rtists: Pattie Page (1971), Ray Price

"James River" - Co-writer: June Carter - A rtists: Lefty Frizzell (1964)

"Swing Daddy Swing" - Co-writer: Dale Hawkins - A rtists: Jerry Hawkins (1959)

"God Bless The Working Man" - Co-writer: Leon Ashley - Artists: Merle Kilgore (1971)

"Not Too Long Ago" - Co-writer:Joe Stampley - A rtists: The Uniques (1965), Joe Stampley

"Too Many Mountains " - A rtists: Faron Young (1966), Merle Kilgore

"Wandering Mind" - Co-writer: Margie Singleton - Artists: Margie Singleton (1968), Lynn Anderson, Goldie Hill Smith

"When There's a Fire In Your Heart" - Co-writer: Sonny Williams - Artists: Teresa Brewer (1967), Tammy Wynette, Laura Lee, Eddy Arnold, Karen Black (in movie "Five Easy Pieces")

"Whiskey Road " - A rtists: Merle Kilgore (1963)

"You'll Drive Me Back Into Her Arms Again" - Co-writer: Miriam Lewis - Artists: Faron Young (1964)

"You Still Got a Hold On Me" - Artists: Eddy Arnold (1965)

"You Touched My Heart" - Co-writer: Bob Tubert - Artists: David Rogers (1969)

"The Man" - A rtists: Lorne Greene (1964)

"Touched So Deeply " - A rtists: Rex Allen (1963), Merle Kilgore (1963)

"Baby Rocked Her Dolly " - A rtists: Frankie Miller (1960), Merle Kilgore

"The Wild One" - Co-writer: Tillman Franks - A rtists: Johnny Horton (1960), Marty Stuart

"Country Music Those Tear Jerking Songs" - Co-writer: Hank Williams Jr. - Artists: Hank Williams Jr. (1973)

"Tom Dooley Jr. " - A rtists: Merle Kilgore (1958)

"I'm Not Responsible" - Co-writer:Abe Mulkey - Artists: Hank Williams Jr. (1977), Merle Kilgore

"My Side of Life " - A rtists: Mel Tillis (1972), Merle Kilgore

"I'm The Same Ole Me" - Co-writer: Margie Singleton - Artists: Lorne Greene (1963)

"Lipstick Paint a Smile On Me" - Co-writer: Kay Arnold - Artists: Demetriss Tapp (1963), Nancy Adams

"Pee Wee Valley " - A rtists: Faron Young (1963), Vaughn Monroe

"Rhinestones " - A rtists: Faron Young (1964), The Sherwoods, Merle Kilgore

"Sheepskin Valley Co-writer: Claude King (1963) " - A rtists: Claude King (1963)

Comments:

Received a BMI Million-airs Award in 1990 for "Ring of Fire"

Received a BMI Million-airs Award in 1990 for "Wolverton Mountain"

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